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lllllllllllllillllinillllliilllliMllillll GENEALOGY 

3 1833 01774 6873 977.201 

~ J35AF 



A reprint of an early 20'^ century publication of the 

Jefferson County Historical Society, Inc. 

615 W. First Street 

Madison, In., 47250 




ANTISLAVERY. From an article on file in the Jefferson County Museum. 
Not in good condition, not all pages in the group. Page 
one is missing, page two follows: 

"Upon no subject has there been so much change in public opinion as that 
of slavery. A quarter of a century ago, no epithat was so approbious as 
that of an Abolitionist. To be accused of favoring the equality of all men 
before the law was a greater affront than to be charged with a dishonest 
action. Particularly was this the case in southern Indiana, where the 
feelings and principles of their Kentucky neighbors had great influence 
upon those living upon the northern side of the Ohio River. But the 
prejudice against the Negro was not confined to any one policical party, 
but was common to all sections and to all parties. 

In 1854, Michael C. Garber, for so long the editor of The Madison 
Courier, and who has since done much to make the antislavery sentiment 
effective for good in the politics in Indiana, struck a prominent man 
at the Madison polls on election day, for calling him an Abolitionist. 
In 1844, James Y. Allison, later Judge of the Jefferson Circuit Court, 
cast his vote in favor of adopting the constitutional amendment abolish- 
ing slavery, made an inf almmatory speech at Hanover, denouncing the 
Abolitionist, Matthew R. Hull, to his face, and stood by complacently 
while a mob of southern students attempted to duck him in the Ohio River. 
In those days it required more courage to acknowledge oneself in favor 
of the abolition of American slavery than it did to charge a battery in 
the face of the enemy. No doubt there were many men of heart in favor 
of wiping out the stain of slavery from our county's escutcheon but 
where were they, who had the courage to openly avow it? It is almost 
impossible for one who is not familiar with the public sentiment of those 
days to fully realize the change that has come over the people upon the 
subject of slavery. Men are no longer ashamed to acknowledge themselves 
when to be so was a practical thing. (Crossed out-Indeed, but few there 
are, at least in the Republican party, who do not consider such a descent 
and such a record, things to be proud of.)." 

A newspaper contributor (W. H. Tenell) writing of slavery days, in 1870, 
has this to say about the remarkable change of sentiment that took place 
in souther Indiana within a comparatively few years; (see the above quotation) 
"To no part of the state was this truer (to no part of the state was this 
more accurate than to Jefferson County, with its predominationg southern 
population and its close proximinity to Kentucky, so passionately resent 
any imputation upon the slave system, than those people of Madison who 
were opposed to it were obligated to maintain absolute silence, or its 
acts in secred, and, as stated by Mr. Tenell, sentiment on this side of 
the river, has so extremely opposed to agitating the question which had 
become the absorbing one in the politics of the country than the antislavery 
element has practically in the heart of the enemies domain. Not withstanding 
these circumstances, the seeds of the great moral movement were sown here 
and they grew slowly but persistently. (Sheets 4,5, and 6 missing) 

Sheet numbered number 6J next. The minutes of this society, Neal's Creek 
which we published elsewhere in full, as an anti-slavery document of 
interest and value, was long in the keeping of Miss Annetta Hoyt, a 


daughter of one of the organizers, who treasured it as a family heirloom. 
The society. Miss Hoyt says, was first talked of by the Nelsons, Hoyts, 
and Tibbets in her grandfather Nelson's big kitchen and was organized 
January 5, 1839, with Daniel Nelson as its first president. 

Page 7. Neil's Creek, a small scream in Lancaster and Graham Townships, 
in and about the village of Lancaster, there seems to have been a settle- 
ment of people of strong anti-slavery sentiment — the Tibbetts, Hoyts, 
Nelsons and others, who became the nucleus and made the place a rallying 
point. The organization was effected January 5, 1839 at a school house 
on Neil's Creek, northwest of Lancaster and, as shown by the minutes of 
the society, it held regular meetings here until May 31, 1845, making a 
total of thirty-five meetings. The society stood for the immediate and 
entire abolition of slavery in the United States, and characterizing 
it as " A heinous sin in the sight of God". But it deprecated "Harsh and 
approprious epithets" against slave holders, as injurious to the cause of 
emancipation. It also held that the orginazition of a district Abolition 
Party "would be injurious, if not fatal, to the cause in which Abolitionists 
are engaged". Though it afterwards seems to have changed its attitude 
somewhat, for in February 1841, it passed sundry resolutions, heartily 
supporting political action and in 1844, it took steps toward organizing 
a local party and putting in the field a Jefferson County ticket. 
It protested vigorously against arrogant domination of the south in the 
halls of congress and uttered its warnings against the dough-faced trimmers 
of the north, and cried out against the repeated outrages perpetrated in 
the name of slavery. Moreover it raised its voice against the cowardly 
pulpit, false to its trust, that remained silent in the midst of wicked 
and horrible crimes, in brief, the Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Society, 
took a courageous and unflagging part in the great fight for human 
freedom, which has since been set throughout the country. 

The minutes in our possession terminate about the time that the Jefferson 
County political organization materilized, but whether the society ceased 
then, after its five years campaign, we do not know, neither do we know 
much about the noble men who promoted and wrotght for it. Miss Hoyt 
suggests that it may have merged into a distinct political party of into 
the "Underground Railroad" whose actions were necessarily secret. 

Anti-Slavery Baptist Church. The records of Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery 
Society continue until May 1845, and the probabilities are that the 
meetings were discontinued then or shortly after, for a year later, an 
anti-slavery church was organized in the same school house, where the 
society had met and which took a simular name, "The Neil's Creek Anti- 
Slavery Baptist Church". Its records make no mention of the old society 
as then existing. The hand of fellowship was extended to Abraham 
Walton, E. Webster, John Tibbets and Sarah A. Tibbets, "Thus organizing 
them into a church." This small society gradually increased at suceeding 
meetings. By the end of that year thers were only ten members but its 
membership grew until 1860 when it numbered 70. To the Articles of Faith, 
common to the Baptist Church, it added this: "We believe that slavery 
or the holding of property in human beings is a violation of the principals 
of Christianity and all moral precepts which God has given to men." 

Jer. 22:13, Lev. 11:13, James 5:1-7, Song of Sol. 1:506 

The lower part of this page is cut off. Also pages between 12 and 22 are 
missing. Continuing — 

Carr and this forbidden by law of trespass to enter the grounds, would 
prowl with his men around the neighborhood and sometimes enter disguised 
as beggars and pack peddlers. 

What a picture tose long past events call forth — the romance, the pathos, 
the tragedy. With the courage and zeal to form and maintain an Anti- 
Slavery Society, an Anti-Slavery Church, and an Anti-Slavery School, it 
was but natural, or but a sequence, that the abolitionists of Jefferson 
County would have taken some part in that wider and yet more hazardous 
movement, which in defiance of approbrlum and of laws, directly aided 
the Undergound Railroad. The general character of this institution, if 
such it can be called, is so well known that little time need be said here. 
Briefly, the facilities into which slaves could escape from slave territory 
by crossing the Ohio River, and the immunity of recapture, if Canada was 
reached-opened an avenue for the anti-slavery workers. Hence then came 
into existance a secret system of cooperation with difinite routes, over 
which fugitives could be clandestinely conveyed to this side of the river. 
From the secrecy of the operations and the routes, the systerm became aptly 
known as the Underground Railroad. The houses along the routes where the 
run-a-ways were received and forwarded being stations and those actively 
engaged in conveying them "conductors". 

For obvious geographical reasons, the majority of the routes or lines began 
on the Ohio River and they were particularly numerous throughout Ohio and 
in eastern Indiana. There was a marked covergence of them in Wayne County, 
where there was a strong Quaker element. For obvious reasons, also, any 
chart or exact description of these roads of "Underground" travel is 
peculiarly liable to error, for what was unknown, except to the initiated 
few at the time the routes were followed in operation, can scarcely be 
traced with accuracy a half century later. This is illustrated by comparing 
the local study and its difficulties with the most elaborate general work 
that exists upon the subject — i.e. "The Underground Railroad" (sometimes 
called "Friends") by Professor Wilbur H. Seibert of Hanover College, a 
valuable and exhaustive work on this subject. Get his charts of the routes 
from the Ohio River through Jefferson County, to Columbus and Greensburg. 
Only one (route) roughly appropriate. Moreover, his list of Jefferson County 
men engaged in the work, as operators, represents scarcely a tithe of the 
actual number-and several of those best known locally (Chapman Harris and 
Elija Anderson) are not included in the list. The omission, however, is 
easily explained by the fact thus: At the time professor Siebert was 
engaged in collecting his data, it was well nigh impossible to get info- 
rmation from this section, owing to the close proximity to Kentucky. 

At various points along the Jefferson County river front from Brooksburg 
to Marble Hill, linger recollectins of dusky fugatives making their furtive 
way northward. These fleeing slaves not only sought the friends who would 
help them but they traversed, as far as possible through the wilder parts of 
the country, where they were least in danger. 


Knowledge of the topography obtained verbally from the conductors that had 
been given him astonished Mr. Brooks. In Saluda Township, old residents 
tell of Negroes making their way up the rough valley of Fourteen Mile 
Creek, enroute presumably to the Hanover neighborhood, where lives a group 
of anti-slavery people. It is said that there were several men in Madison 
Township who made a business of capturing slaves for the reward. 

Chapman Harris' home, at the mouth of Eagle Hollow, three miles above 
Madison, was perhaps the best known "Terminal Station" in the country,. 
This was connected with the Kentucky shore by boats secretly manned and 
before its day, a similar ferriage was conducted at Madison, as unfavorable 
or exposed a point as that would seem to have been. While most of the fugativt 
were piloted over the river and started on their way by friends, it is evident 
that others got over independently and struck the trails in accordance with 
previous information. A case in point was that of Isiah Brook's man. 

These trails leaving the river at various points, converging more or less 
into difinite routes. The different stations or neighborhoods, crossed the 
county in three or four different sections. There were Quaker settlements 
in several of the counties north of the Jefferson County line. The only 
way of locating the routes is by the people who assisted the fugative over 
them. One, the Ryker's Ridge route, led from Chapman Harris' at the mouth 
of Eagle Hollow, to the said ridge where lived the Rykers, Carrs, Ledger- 
woods, Torter, Stewards, Van Cleves, Baxters, who wer open and prominently 
in their advocation of freedom. Thence, the route is said to have continued 
to the home, or station, of Jesse Lott, a mile or two south of Canaan, and 
on to Versailles in Ripley County. (Authority-E. B. Bishop, Canaan.) 

Another route from C. Harris Station, was by way of the Graham Road to the 
home of John Wagner (now the property of Thomas Wattlington, north of 
Madison, two miles) whose blacksmith shop stood until recent years. Most 
of the above named routes were established in the early 40s through the 
work of surreptiously aiding runaway slaves began at a much earlier date. 

The earliest intimations of the underground work in this county comes 
through a biographical sketch of George Evans (Negro) published in The 
Madison Courier (date not given) in its reference to a "secret road" 
established in 1830, leading from Jef f ersonville through Charlestown, 
Lexington, Vernon, and Greensburg to Newport in Wayne County, where a 
junction was effected with a road running from Cincinnati to Detroit. 
George Evans, then living near Hanover, learned of its existance and 
immediately enlisted his services. Two years later, a change was made in 
the said route, which, henceforth extended to Evan's home, thereby enabling 
the latter to conduct the fugatives from that point to Vernon, where 
connection with the Jef fersonville Road was convenient. Thus, Evan's 
with the aid of friends in Hanover and Greenbriar, a small negro settlement 
near Hanover, managed the escape of a considerable number of slaves. 

Despite the secrecy with which the underground operations were conducted, 
there were enough recaptures to justify a suspicion of treachery in the 
part of the Negros connected with the system in this locality and con- 
sequently a change of routes was made whereby to blind the suspected 
recreants . 


Thenceforth (1837) the slaves were conveyed to this side of the river at a 
point above the mouth of Clifty Creek, thence up the hollow through Press- 
burg, Wirt, Lancaster and on to Vernon. This route was the construction of 
John Sering, who becam the first station keeper or conductor. (The Anti- 
Slavery crusade had enlisted several powerful disciples in Madison and 
Lancaster, among whom John Sering was first and foremost. This contradicts 
the former statement that the Clifty route existed in the 20s, Sering an 
operator before the route of the 40s.). 

Many reminiscenses of slavery days have been handed down by workers in the 
abolition cause or their descendents. Intersting letters from Miss Annetta 
Hoyt and Mrs. Lucy Hoyt Thompson, daughter of Lyman and Benajah Hoyt. 
"Recollections of their childhood days. Miss Annatta Hoyt, to whom we are 
indebted for the minute book of the Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Society, 
in speaking of her father and their abolition neighbors at Lancaster says 
"The tears come to my eyes as I recall them all, and the unflinching firm- 
ness with which they stood to their convictions and were willing to be 
called by the dispised name "Abolutionists" and "Free Soiler" and to leave 
their comfortable homes in the dead of night to help the poor slave on toward 
the north star, and to tread him as a man and brother, regardless of the 
contempt of neighbor opponents." "Times innumerable, she adds, when a child, 
I was sent to read aloud from the National Era, the abolition speeches of 
Congress to the dear good old people." "Again and again I have seen them 
shake their heads saying, "Ohl well, the darkest time is just before the 
dawn. I used to think within my childish mind, but how do you know this is 
the darkest time? How do know but there may be a darker time yet to come? 
I foten read to them with quivering voice, the story of Uncle Tom's Cabin, as 
it came out a serial in the National Era. I was born amidst soul stirring 
discussions, my earliest memories are of them and 1 grew up among them. These 
good men never grew rich" says Miss Hoyt, "but when they died men came from 
far and near and helped lay them to rest in silent, tender sympathy and 
respect. " 

Another item from this writer alludes to a resolution of the Anti-Slavery 
Society to boycott the products of slave labor. This affected the little 
folks in the matter of sugar and molasses and "I distinctly remember" 
says the writer, "that we almost wished they (the parents) would be less 
conscientious". Mrs. Lucy Hoyt Thompson says that her father, Lyman Hoyt 
would not use New Orleans sugar or molasses and that he wore only home spun 
clothes, woolen in winter and linen in summer." Miss Lois Hoyt writes; 
"As children we heard much and wondered more as to where and for what 
purpose (page missing) . 

The most noted of the "Underground Conductors", or workers In the county 
thus recounts his recollections of those stirring times, and heroic men. 
"I slept on a trundle bed in my parents room and was frequently wakened by 
my mother sobbing and my father steathily leaving or entering the room in 
the dark. My curiosity, then awakened, was not wholely satisfied for a 
year or more, during which time, the, to me, mysterious events recurred. 
My parents were devoted Baptists, members of the church near by, and I 
attended regularly the meetings and Sunday School. I heard much of wicked 
men, thieves, robbers, and murderers, and began to fear that my father 
must be engaged in some such wicked work, and I used to cry to myself when 
I heard poor mother crying and because I thought, she was grieving over my 


father's wickedness. Finally one morning before daybreak, I overheard 
part of a whispered conversation between my parent. Father said, "Well, 
I have got the Negroes, five of them, three men, a woman and a baby, and 
I don't know what on earth to do with that woman and baby, for the child 
cries all the time, it is Sunday, some one will be here sure and hear it " 
Mother quickly replied, "Take them on to Mr. Trotter's, a distance neighbor 
He will care for them until night." Whereupon father disappeared in the 
dawn with his charge. I got up early that morning and as usual made the 
kitchen fire and went to the barn, ostensibly to perform mv duties but 
really to quietly search for the fugitives, whom I found secreted in the 
hayloft— three men whom I soon made friends with and learned the story of 
their escape. On my way back to the house I met my father retuning from the 
Trotters. He looked at me suspiciously, then back at the barn, whereupon I 
asked him What are you looking for?" and he instantly replied, "I'm watching 
to see that^^the barn doesn't catch on fire, it would be an awful time for it 
to butn. Sure, I added. When questioned, I disclosed my discovery in the 
hayloft. Father then explained the whole history, cautioning secrecy. Thus 
warning that some of the pro-slavery men might kill him, or burn his barn 
and other outbuildings. 

Shortly after this occurrence young Carr was initiated into active work of 
the organization rendering efficient services for some years. 

Of the fugives who passed over these routes we have obtained limited per- 
sonal accounts Some few of them were unusually clad but the JTIIH^ number 
were fairly well provided. Others were average in "finery" silks, jewels, etc. 
both the men and women in some instances. The race instinct for jewelry The 
men however usually resorted to stealing money rather than jewelry. 

The slaves mostly from Kentucky and Virginia (with possible white blood in 
their veins), were seldom maltreated by their masters, though a few who 
passed over the Madison routes bore evidence of cruel punishment. One 
instance in particular is related. That of a man whose wife lived and worked 
on a neighboring plantation and whom he was in the habit of secretly visiting 
(in violation of his master's orders). On one occasion he was detected and 
was schackled and chained to a post in an old loom house and frightfully 
lashed every day for a week, in a vain endeavor to extract a promise never 
never to repeat the offence. Determined to die rather than yield, the 
victim of this brutality refused to take the oath, but one night with the 
aid of a friend, slipped his schackles and made his escape to the opposite 
shore to the home of John Carr, under whose kind care, he recovered from the 
ettects of his punishment and he was successfully passed over the route to 

On one occasion some fugitives from the interior of Kentucky, having reached 
Madison rather late, were hurried into Station # _, conducted by James 
btewart, who for a number of years was associated with the Underground 
Railroad work. A heavy snow and ice had almost precluded transit, particularly 
on the steep hillside. The circumstances demanded Instant action and Stewart's 
horses, being smooth shod, he immediately secreted the slaves and led his 
horses down the hill to Wagner's Blacksmith Shop to be roughened, where, to 
his dismay, he round his pursurers in advance and on the same mission. 



Wagner, understanding the situation, made som plausible excuse for serving 
Stewart first, thus delaying the Kentuckians until the conductor, with his 
human charges, was far ahead of them and soon at the station beyond. On his 
return home, Stewart was overtaken by the pursurers who, confident of capturing 
the fugitives, demanded of him to halt, at the same time firing a revolver. 
Whereupon the Abloitionist calmly called out that he had no time to stop and 
proceeded over the hill. The Kentuckians, after firing several ineffective 
shots, gave up the quest and recrossed the river. 

An amusing story is related of the Rev. Thomas Hicklin, who, with his 
brother Lewis, rendered great service in Jefferson County for the cause. 
Demonstrating the diplomacy to which the underground operators sometimes 
had recourse — A bond woman, on her way to Canada, had been received in the 
home of the minister and after resting and eating her supper was hurried on 
her way. Within a half hour after her departure her Kentucky master appeared 
at Hicklin' s door demanding his "woman". In a calm voice, the minister said 
that she was not there, whereupon the white man denouncing him a liar, threatene 
his life. With all assurance and coolness Mr. Hicklin asked, "Is she your wife? 
"No" replied the startled master. "Is she your sister?" He asked and received 
a negative reply. "Is she you daughter?" "NO" replied the enraged owner, "She 
is my slave'.' "OhI" said Hicklin innocently. "I do not harbor slaves." "I 
thought from your manifest interest she must be your wife or near relative." 
The Reverend gnetleman then prevailed upon the caller to dismoutn and partake 
of his hospitality. The invited Kentuckian thus became engaged in interesting 
conversation and several hours, precious hours to the pursued, passed ere he 
bade farewell to his engaging host and made for the Kentucky side. 

On one occasion a party of slaves composed of six men, one woman and her 
child, crossed the river just as their pursurers made their appearance on 
the opposite shore. The latter hastily crossed and followed the party, which 
was in the charge of George and Henry Harris (sons of Chapman Harris) in 
Eagle Hollow. Here the men fled up the narrow ravine and escaped the 
pursuers but the woman and child, piloted by Henry, were overtaken. Harrie 
refused to give up his charge and single handed fought the posse, felling 
the leader and beating him into insensibility. During the encounter the 
woman and child were seized by the other men of the posse, who with a shot 
gun drove off the husky Harris and with their disabled leader and fugitive 
woman and child, returned to the Kentucky side. 

A story with a touch of the romantic, if not heroic not unromantic, in 
underground annuals, is that of a Negro boy and his sister, who having 
escaped from their master's plantation, succeeded in crossing the Ohio 
and searching an underground station, arriving at this point on a Saturday 
night, whence they were to have been conveyed to the next station. It so 
happened that the young conduction in charge was in the habit of calling 
upon his sweetheart regularly on Sunday evening, and the visit, being thus 
interrupted by the late arrival, he called Sunday afternoon instead. His 
explanation of the circumstances, not being altogether ingenious possible, 
since his lady love's curiosity, if not suspicious, was keenly aroused. 
The young man was wheedled into disclosing the actual facts, but under the 
promise of strict secrecy. Immediately upon his departure however, the young 


woman hastened to share the confidence with her father, who. with an eye 
to the reward, waylaid the fugitive that night. The boy made his escape 
but the girl was captured and returned to her master, who sold her to a 

lTclTo\llT^J'"^''^''^''V ' ''''' °' ^' ^^""' '""^ ^"^^- -^-'^^^ his way 
his sJstei m\"'T7 Pl^"^-^i°" in the south, bent upon the liberation of 
his sister. Disturbed on learning her absence in far away Louisana, but still 
determined to follow his quest, he proceeded on the journey and af er a W 
search located the girl. Several months later the two appeared in Madison 
having walked all the way from the Gulf of Mexico. Subsequently they went' 
to Canada where the girl eventually married. After the Civil War. she. with 
her husband, returned to Jefferson County and made their home on Ryke^s 
Rxdge among the friends who had harbored her in her former years. 

cTrr°lrZ\Z'Wt'^°''". T^^^' affected in this locality was by John 
nu,\ f.^ ^J^tches of the sheriff. Rea the famous slave catcher. The 
plucky officer had surrounded four men in a thicket on upper Eagle Hollow 
with a posse of almost one hundred men. For three days and nights the 
fugitives were hemmed in with the intention of staving them into surrendering 
ToZnlTeTT '"^' -observed, slipped into the thicket and at n o^po^tunf ' 
moment led the captives out through a narrow ravine and before the escape was 
discovered, the fugitives were well on their way north. ^ 

Anti-slavery workers. Appended to the original minutes of the Neil's Creek 

active anti-slavery workers in the Lancaster neighborhood. They were, we 
believe, passed by Miss Annette Hoyt. whom we have previously referred to 
Miss Hoyt says that Daniel Hovey Nelson, her grandfather, and James his 
brother, came to Jefferson County from Vermont in 1820. Ind were followed 
by Lyman Hoyt and his family from the same place, and ;et later by Ly^In's 
younger brother. Benjamin. "A soldier's claim on Neil's Creek broughrjames 

think thrr.Hh'^r'K' 'T "^'^^ '°'= «°y'' ^"^ ^hi« informant adds! "I 
Ohio ^ Tibbetts brought the anti-slavery doctrine to Jefferson County from 
r^t^; T'Lr" °^^«i"^lly ^^°^ Maine. The Nelson. Hoyts. and Tibb^^ts were 
related with each other by marriage. The daughters of Ly;an Hoyt Mrs 
Thompson writes that her father was one of the most active operators of the 
Underground Railroad and she speaks of a cave on their place! the entrLe 

l^.u. 1 the owner harbored many fugitives, carrying them food, etc. after 
a sll;e owier f" "' ^^ father's humanity, she relates that on o;e Lcasion 
a slave owner was pursuaded upon to dismount and stay to dinner, her father 
beguiled him with entertainment and conversed while the slave wis pitting 
space between them. Miss Annette Hoyt tells of the awe and wonder arousfd in 
the younger ones by the mysterious invisible "Undergroung Railroad"! "Snce 
hUl'^i:; 7o IZT/u^'T ^"' I ""^ ^^'^^^ '° MadLon.'we went d^wn th 
interest anH » ^^^J °f '"" ^"'^ '^"' ^^^^^^ into the cut. exclaimed with 
Railroad'" gratification over the discovery . 'There is the Underground 

Of the Negros who passed over the various routes, some were miserably clad but 
the greater number, it is said, were fairly well clother and not a few ierl 
a rayed in finery, which, evidently they had purloned from their mas Irs or 
mistresses. The women.especially. betrayed their thefts by the exibi I^n of 

jewelry and fine rayment . A woman passed through Madison in 1859 wearing 
four silk dresses, which, it was ascertained, she had stolen from her 
master's daughter. 

The great majority of fugitives, of course, came and went, leaving no further 
trace of them but now and then fuller knowledge discloses nobla traits. Al- 
ready recounted is the story of the brother, who twelve years after he had 
escaped to Canada, returned in search of his slave sister. He found her 
in Louisiana and managed her escape with him to the land of refuge. 

An old Negro, sick and almost frozen, who passed through the Hoyt neighbor- 
hood, was provided by Mr. Hoyt with an overcoat, which, almost a year after 
reaching Canada, he returned the garment to the owner in good condition. 

Of the free Negros residing here, Chapman Harris and his sons, Elijah ' 
Anderson, George Evans and George the Baptist, possessed abiding zeal for 
the cause of humanity. Harris is described as a big, powerful fellow, utterly 
feerless and of great determination. In his defiance of the slave-chasers, he 
was ably reinforced by several sons (the writer says four of them) an Amazonian 
wife, the latter also noted for strength and courage. Their cabin was at the 
mouth of Eagle Hollow, three miles above Madison and at this point many 
fugitives were ferried across the river. By a system of signals, strikes of 
an anvil, Harris would communicate with his assistants on the Kentucky side, 
two of them being Negros, John Scott and William Rialey. There are many 
traditions but one newspaper correspondent who wrote while Harris was still 
alive, an apparently from an interview with him, says that the signals on his 
side were effected by striking with a heavy stick a large resonant iron plate. 
By this system of signals it seems, was communication to and fro, when there 
were run-a-ways on the Kentucky side and thus indicate when it was safe for 
them to cross. The writer also speaks of a huge sycamore tree near Harris' 
place which was sometimes used as a hiding place for refugees. The Harris 
family was instrumental in helping many fleeing slaves on their way. 
Sheet missing here. 

Of James Nelson and his part in the Underground Railroad, his niece. Miss 
Lois Hoyt says; "There was not a more efficient, diligent laborer in the 
field. He had more leisure and was not so generally suspected as was my 
father, Lymna Hoyt, and for this reason more of the cases were conducted by 
him than by any one else. His wife, known as "Aunt Lucy" had an equal zeal 
in the work and was said to be a woman of great executive ability. The 
underground work was eventually reduced to a comparative system. It was 
customary for the slaves to arrive after dark and they were either escorted 
in direction to the first station, whence they were sent to the next station 
and so on. Pass-words — indeed a regular code of signals was adopted and through 
which work the hazardous was enveloped in a halo of romance. 

On Neil's Creek, the farmer being a harness maker as well as a farmer, and 
Dr. Earl Tibbett at North Madison, James Hibner kept a tavern between Dupont 
and Lancaster, on the old state road and there harbored fugitives and David 
Hughes, a farmer near Lancaster was also active in the underground work. Of 
the Rev. Thomas Cravenx, the founder of Eleutherian College and his co- 
workers in that institution, we have already spoken in our sketch of the 


John Carr, on Ryker's Ridge, was one of the later but most zealous and 
efficient of the underground workers. He was a native of Ireland and emigrated 
to America, landing at Quebec in 1830, where he remained six years, then came 
west and located on a farm on the ridge, where he married and spent the 
remainder of his life. Soon after his arrival, he learned that slaves were 
being brought from Kentucky and conducted to places of safety through the 
agency of John Sering. Recaptures being common, Mr. Carr's sympathy and 
services were soon enlisted by the underground operators and he became one 
of the most ardent of the abolitionists in the county. He and the Baxters 
and the Clines (the latter residents of adjoining Jennings County) were 
engaged in the work and the home of each was also called a station. Mr Carr 
indeed devoted his life to the cause and when the primary arrival on the 
river was changed from Madison to Eagle Hollow, Carr became one of the most 
powerful men in the movement. It is said that at one time an organization 
of slave owners offered a reward of $5,000 for Carr's body, delivered in 
Kentucky, dead or alive. Other Ryker's Ridge abolitionists were the Rykers, 
Ledgerwoods, Almonds, Trotters, and Stewarts, under Carr's able leadership 
rendered notable service. 

Two valuable assistants in the work were James Baxter of Monroe Township, who 
lived near the Baxter schoolhouse and Isaac Wagner, the blacksmith on Graham 
Road, previously mentioned. The homes of both were stations. One man whose 
name to the present time is prominently identified with the underground in 
this locality was that of Chapman Harris, a Negro preacher, whose cabin home 
at the mouth of Eagle Hollow, three miles above town, was for years the 
objective point in the county for Kentucky fugitives. 

The chief conductor at the time that Harris entered the service was a Negro 
names Scott, an engineer at the Milton KY distillery. He was succeeded by 
William Risley. Near the Harris farm was a hugh sycamore tree-the hollow 
trunk of which he called his depot, at this point was a big rack, he kept 
an iron plate, weighing perhaps twelve pounds, on which he used to strike 
the signals with his heavy hickory cane, spiked on the end. At the signal 
for approaching fugitives, messages were immediately sent along the Ryker 
Ridge Route, notifying operators. Then, at the psychological moment, Harris' 
thrilling note would sound in the night, making echoes through the hills and 
valleys. And then, silent as a procession of ghosts, appeared the guides 
transferring their cargo to our shore. 

Chapman is remembered as a large powerful fellow, as fearless as strong, and 
of indomitable will. His capacity for this vigilent, secretive work was 
seemingly unlimited. Even his closest friends and neighbors, who were in full 
sympathy with the underground work and Harris' part in it, learned nothing 
of the operations from him. 

Wm. Wesley Woolen, then a resident of Jefferson County, and an abolitionist at 
heart and for years a neighbor of Harris, never elicited from him a work of 
information or the fact that he was engaged in the enterprise. Mr. Wollen 
suspected that Harris himself was an escaped slave. Harris was a great fighter 
when the occasion damanded it and his reputation as such insured many a slave's 
escape. His wife was also a woman of remarkable courage and strength and betweer 
the two, the little cabin in the hollow was something of a hornet's nest for the 
bellicose slave hunters. 


Harris was eager to educate his children but the prejudice against Negro 
pupils prevented their going to the neighborhood school. One of the sons 
was given private instruction by Mr. Woolen, for whom he worked, and he 
later attended the Eleutherian College 

There were other Negros of Jefferson County in the underground service, though 
Harris is best remembered. One of them was Elijah Anderson, a free born Negro 
from Lynchburgh, VA, who came to Madison In 1837 and a few years later allied 
himself with the work. Daring and eminent his services, eventually merited 
his title "Superintendent of the Underground Railroad". He, too, lived near 

Eagle Hollow and when the later was made the of deposit, he became 

the leading man in the work in Jefferson County, (Deposit — landing place 
of fugitives) managing the routes on Ryker's Ridge and the Graham Road, before 
John Carr succeeded to that office. His house, like Harris' was a refuge for 
run-a-ways who were bravely defended while in his charge. For Anderson's 
body, as for Mr. Carr's, the Kentuckians offered a liberal reward. In 
contempt of this, Anderson is said to have repeatedly and openly gone to 
the Kentucky side and to ferry over his illegal cargo. Eventually in 1851, 
when returning from a trip to Carrollton, KY in the interest of the under- 
ground, he was arrested aboard the boat at the Carrollton Landing and by 
a Negro co-worker for the sake of a reward offered. 

Anderson was tried but the evidence was not sufficient to convict him and 
he was released. He had scarcely left the Carrollton Courthouse, however, 
before he was re-arrested on a similar charge in Trimble County, directly 
Madison, whence he was taken, tried again and convicted and was sent to the 
penitentiary at Frankfort, where he was incarcerated for ten years. On the 
day of expiration of his service, when his friends and family were momentarily 
awaiting his liberation, he was found dead in his prison cell, the victim of 
foul play, it is believed. In his long time of underground service, in Ohio 
and Indiana, Anderson is said to have assisted In the rescue of almost one 
thousand bondmen. There is also mention of a William Anderson (Negro) doubt- 
less a relative of Elijah but of whom we have nothing further. 

Another capable and faithful Negro who rendered enestimable service to the 
Underground Railroad was George De Baptlste, claimed to have been Gen. 
Harrison's body servant, both before and after the latter was elected to the 
presidency and to have held the General's head when he breathed his last. 
DeBaptiste afterwards came to Madison and for six years conducted a barber- 
shop, after which, he became connected with the Underground Railroad and was 
largely responsible for the successful escape of many slaves. In his frequent 
visits to the Kentucky plantations, DeBaptiste at once organized the free 
blacks in those localities and instructed the slaves as to the methods of escape 
About 1846, DeBaptiste removed to Detroit and there continued to assist fugitive; 
into Canada. 

Other names connected with the Underground Railroad and recalled by some of 
our oldest residents are those of John Carter, Philander Winchester, Griffith 
Booth, Wm. Phelps, George White, and Joe O'Neal, most of them Negros. O'Neal, 
after a period of valuable service, turned traitor, selling information to 
the planters. In consequence of this, it is said, the route was changed from 
the landing place, then at the mouth of Clifty Creek to that of Eagle Hollow. 
Just before the Civil War, Henry Ward Beecher and Mrs. Rebecca Whitehead, whose 
farm he visited, were interested in the abolition work in Madison. 


(This ends the numbered pages, many of which are missing. The following is 
an unnumbered sheet, in the handwriting of Miss Druscilla Cravens. I do not 
know whether it was intended to be included in the above article or not. W.S.D. 

Griffith Booth (colored) died in Kalamazoo, Michigan 1 July 1889. He was for 
years identified with the Underground Railroad, and during the davs of slavery, 
assisted many Negros in escaping to Canada. It was the energy with which he 
worked the road that necessitated his leaving here, to take refuge in Canada 
in 1848, where he remained until the war of the rebellion made it possible for 
him to return in safety. Born a slave, he knew the burden of the yoke. He live< 
here for many years. It was he whom Marshal Anize Foster and John Sheets rescuec 
from a mob at the risk of their lives. On one occasion, he had been dipped into 
the river until life was almost extinct in order to force him to divulge the 
hiding place of some slaves. 

For years the faithful coachman of Mr. Victor King, later employed in the 
old Banner as pressman, during Mr. D. Jones' time when the paper was printed 
on the old fashioned hand press, the writer was both roller boy and devil. 

(The following article is typewriten, no signature of date given) 
George DeBaptiste. born in Frederichsburg, VA about the year 1815, went when 
a mere boy to Richmond, entered the barber shop and learned his trade as barber. 
When about 18 years old, he became the servant of a man named Amos, a sporting 
man, who traveled about the country a great deal and had his home in Alabama. 
He remained with Amos until Amos' death, after which DeBaptiste returned to 
Richmond and married in 1838 and removed to Madison. Ind., where he carried 
on the business of trading with Cincinnati, occasionally running to and fro 
from the two places on a steamboat. While engage in this business, he chanced 
to tall in with Gen. Harrison, afterwards president of the United States, and 
became his servant, traveling with him during his political campaign in 1840. 
Upon the inauguration of Gen. Harrison, as president of the United States, 
DeBaptiste was appointed by Harrison Steward of the White House. He was 
greatly attached to the president and attended him constantly during his last 
sickness, supported the general's head In his arms when he breathed his last. 
Shortly after, DeBaptiste returned to Madison and opened a barber shop, where 
he lived some seven years, removing to Detroit in 1846. There he purchased a 
barber shop but did not work at the trade himself but engaged in other occupation 
He afterwards purchased the steamer "T.Whitney", whose route was from Detroit 
to Sandusky. Under the law, a colored man could not get a license to run a 
steamboat and he employed Capt. Atwood to manage it, while he ran with it to 
attend to her business and freight. He sold the steamer and went into the 
catering business. During the was he was instrumental in raising a colored 
regiment for military service. He enlisted a large number of men in Detroit. 

The most interesting part of Mr. DeBaptiste's life was while he was connected 
with the so called Underground Railroad, which, as most of our readers know, 
was a secret organization formed during the days of slavery to assist slaves 
to escape from the slave states into Canada. DeBaptiste became connected with 
this organization while he lived in Madison and has aided hundreds of Negros to 
escape from their masters and take refuge in the (end of sheet ended thus). 


After DeBaptiste removed from Madison to Detroit he still maintained his 
connection with the Underground Railroad. As soon as runaways arrived in 
this city, he found them out and immediately got them across to Canada. 
A year or two after his removal here, he happened one day to be at the depot 
just as a train on the Michigan Central Railroad arrived, and there saw a 
colored man, whom he had brought across the river at Madison and piloted as 
usual to his first stopping place. The man had come as far as Hillsdale 
County in this state, and there having secured employment remained. His 
master had by some means learned of his whereabouts, and came with several 
men to take him back. The Negro was arrested but by some means escaped from 
his captors and fled. The report of his arrest and escape reached this city 
and his master at once came to watch for his appearance here to cross the river 
by ferry, when he intended to capture him. It luckily happened that DeBaptiste 
was at the depot when the man arrived and securing a small boat got him across 
to Canada very speedily. On another occasion an attempt was made to take back 
a family of five colored persons, named Crosstwaite, who after escaping had 
settled at Marshall in this state. Their former owner, with others, had come 
to capture them and after they had done so, the Crosswaithes were rescued by 
the citizens, including the honorable Charles T. Gorham, then a resident and 
attorney of Marshall, afterwards United States Minister at the Hague. They 
were sent on through this city and DeBaptiste having been informed of their 
expected arrival met them at the depot and soon after had them taken to Canada. 
The owner of the slaves sued Mr. Gorham in the United States Court in this 
city and recovered judgement agains him of over $5,000, the value of the 
runaway slaves. The judgement with costs of the suit, however, was paid by 
subscription among the antlslavery people of this state. DeBaptist being 
one of the most liberal subscribers to the fund. 

The above are a few of the many incidents that might be related of DeBaptist 's 
experiences at the time it was lawful for one man to own his fellow man. Since 
the close of the war, he has labored zealously for the improvement of the 
colored people of this city. He strove ernestly to procure the admission of 
colored children into the public schools on the same footing with white 
children. After the passage of the 15th Amendment, he was instrumental in 
getting up the grand celebration of the event by the colored people here, 
and that day he counted as the happiest of his life. 

He was a most ardent friend and admirer of the late Gerrit Smith and one of 
the last acts of his life was to write a caustic and telling reply to an 
article which he deemed an insult to the memory of Mr. Smith in comparing "" 
him with the late Mr. Lamar, a former slave holder of Georgia, which appeared 
over his signature in the Detroit Tribune about ten years ago. 

During the hot days of antlslavery when Garrit Smith visited Detroit, on 
several occasions he consulted with Mr. DeBaptiste relative to the workings 
of the "Underground Railroad" and contributed liberally to the funds of that 
association, DeBaptiste used to say that Mr. Smith had several times offered 
to give a farm to him of several acres near his own home in Peterborough, N.Y. , 
well stocked with horses and cattle and supplied with all the necessary utensils 
for the working of it, if he, DeBaptiste, would go there and live upon it but 
he refused the offer, Mr. DeBaptiste was a member of the Baptist Church on Grogar 
Street and his funeral will take place from that church tomorrow at three o'clocV 


(The following is in the hand writing of Miss D. Cravens, no date.) 

A pioneer Abolitionist here in Jefferson County was Philander Winchester, who 
also was a Temperance Reformer, who died in Detroit in April 1879. He was the 
leader in the famous rescue of Milton Clark in the days when the recapturing 
of escaping slaves was protected by federal law. 

Lewis and Milton Clark, fugitives, (the former is the character of George 
Harris of "Uncle Tom's Cabin) had gone to Madison from Oberlin, Ohio on 
Mr. Winchester's invitation to relate the story of his escape, etc. to the 
Anti-slavery meeting. Milton was there siezed by men claiming to be his 
owner. Winchester thereupon rallied the Antislavery men, cut the ropes 
that bound the slaves, and after the rescue, exchanged clothes with both 
fugitives and thus managed their escape. He lived near Dupont at the time 
of the Morgan Raid and when Morgan's men wer taking off all the horses along 

! u^u' ^^^^ attempted to sieze a vicious stallion, belonging to Winchester 
and which no one save the owner could ride or control. With great difficulty 
a number of the raiders got the animal from the stall and on attempting to ride 
him, one after the other was violently thrown. Mr .Winchester appearing on the 
scene as a farm hand, volunteered to show them how to "sit" and hold a rein on 
him. Eager to understand the animal, Morgan told the farmer to mount. Wincheste 
did so, rode the horse up and down the lane a few times but In the final dash 
disappeared from the rebel gang like an arrow, who followed him with bullets 
until he was out of sight. 

Mr Winchester was a strong union man. During the Civil War, tireless in his 
efforts for the Union soldier and their families-and since the war is said 
to have performed gratutiously the duties of a pension claim agent. During 
his residence in Madison, he lived in the James W. Thomas house (opposite 

"^°M .v*'"''''^^- "^^ ''"^' "^^^^ ^^"' «^« ^^^°^ f^°"> a carriage at Second 
and Mulberry and almost killed. 

Madison Courier, 15 June 1874. ANTI-SLAVERY MEN. 

Molly Anderson, a school teacher in Frankfort, her father, for many years 
watched and waited over the border to help Kentucky fugitives to land near 
Madison, also near Bedford. "The schooner that runs the hazards of the shoals 
gets wet at last." At the June term 1857, Trimble County, "Sends up to 
Frankfort, Elijah Anderson, a free man of color, felony, received 18 June 
1857 term expires February 1866, intemperate, 49 years old, education poor, 
from Virginia, blacksmith, married. 5',9i" tall, 139 pounds, complection 
black, eyes black, born Kentucky, scar on nose between eyes, two or three 
scars on right wrist, one on inside of right knee, one outside of right foot, 
died in cell 4 March 1861." Now, the daughter, who follows teaching, desires 
that this error as to "intemporate habits" may be corrected. The dead hero 
and his wife were temporance; The man a son of temperance. Also, let this 
credit entry as to the keepers of this prison, coming from the dead man to 
his daughter, and from her to the commercist, speak as colored testimony. 

On entering the prison, the martyr, having been weighed "in his buff" was 
asked his trade, "Blacksmith, that of fancv ironing of carriages." There 
having been no skilled workman of this kind known ir, the annuals of the 
prison, and the keeper being rather straightened of some contracts, gladly 
laid hold of the old man and never laid a lash on him. Besides the manhood 
of the^^prison officer, even then, made them respect the black lover of his 
race. "Damn a Nigger who would not". On the morning of the inauguration 
of Mr. Lincoln, this hero died in his cell. Now the manhood of the prison 
again showed itself in their respect for this good old black man, who earned 
them so much. His daughter, aided by Peter Smith, a freed man, obtained from 
out of the graveyard, her father's body and the bones of the hero repose in 


Miss Druscilla Craven's letter continued. 

You will find some Underground Railroad matter in my two scrapbooks besides 
what you may have in other newspaper articles elsewhere. There is, somewhere, 
an article on Elijah Anderson, though I think I have incorprated about all 
there need be of him, excepting the incidents illustrative of his boldness — 
see Grayson's article. 

And in regard to Delia Webster-after I had complied what I have said of her- 
I read a column from a Kentucky paper which left little doubt in my mind as to 
her real character, that she could not have been a good woman. But need we — 
even for history shad, be so accurate as to make any further allusion than I 
have by saying something about her "shadowed reputation". I don't, of course, 
want to offend my good neighbors across the river, so beg you to review 
closely my feeble efforts. 

Abolitionism. An old document brought to light. 1892. 

During the recent visit of our old friend. Rev. John G. Craven, now of 
Beloit, Kansas, to this county and city, he gave us the manuscript of the 
original for the first great Anti-Slavery Convention at Indianapolis, with 
the names of the signers to the call for the same. There were, besides the 
names appended, quite a number of others who rendered efficient service in 
promoting the object of the convention — notably the late Judge Stephen C. 
Stevens, of this city. Prof. Craven is remembered by many of the Courier 
readers as President of the Eleutherian College, at College Hill, this county. 
We append the full text of the call; 

1. The lovers of our Lord Jesus Christ who are laboring for the advancement of His 
kingdom, are invited to meet in convention at Indianapolis on the fourth Tuesday 
in May next at ten A. M. to ascertain by what means we can most successfully 
array the moral power of religion, the church and our benevolent organizations 
against the system of American slavery, which has recently infringed so 
seriously upon the rights of our consciences, which has always disregarded the 
consciences of the slave, and which now presents an almost insurmountable 
barrier to the progress of pure religion throughout our beloved county. Shall 
we "For whom to live is Christ" count any sacrifice too great by which we shall 
be instrumental in making our land Emmanuel's land and our fellow citizens and 
the poor slaves fellow heirs of immortal life? Come then brethern and sisters, 
"Come up to help of the Lord, agains the mighty." 

2. On the 29th of May a convention will assemble of the friends of human rights, 
who believe that the federal government was instituted for the purpose of rights 
and who are opposed to the revolutionary party, who are aiming to employ it to 
make war upon human rights and who are willing to appeal to the public conscience 
and sympathy in behalf of the colored portion of the population of this state, 
inasmuch as their rights and best interests are seriously threatened by certain 
clauses which it proposed to adopt in the new constitution, let the patriot and 
the Christian put forth his utmost exertion to save our beloved state and 
country from the reproaches of the world and the judgement of a just God. 
Signed at College Hill, Jefferson County, Indiana 1851 

John G. Craven, James Nelson, James M. McGomery, James P. Brown, R. R. Clark, 
Angus McKay, John P. Brown, Nehemiah Stites, E. B. Rogers, Martha W. Craven, 
Barbara M. Thompson, Margaret McKay, Lucy Hoyt, Mary Hoyt, Esther McKay, 
Barbara McKay, Mary McKay, Emaline Stites. 


UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, From Slavery To Freedom. Madison A Leading 
Station of The Line. An Exciting Episode Recalled. Courier 22 February 1899. 
Madison was once the leading border station on the line of the Underground 
Railroad, and many a poor slave, seeking his freedom, crossed the river here 
and was passed along the lint to liberty, long before President Lincoln's 
immortal proclamation which emancipated the entire four millions of black 
men then in bondage. From time to time, the Courier has made mention of 
those who operated the Underground Railroad in this locality, most of whom 
have since paid the debt of nature. We notice in this week's issue of the 
Greensburg "Standard" a statement by Mr. Charles T. Powner, that a recent 
research among the early papers of Decatur County in the court house at 
Greensburg had brought to light an old document endorsed as follows; 
"George Ray's affidavit to arrest slaves. Filed November 3, 1847. Henry 
H. Talbott, Clerk, Andrew Davidson, Prosecuting Attorney". George Ray was 
a slave owner, whose home was in Trimble County, KY. Mr. Talbott was the 
first clerk of Decatur County, elected when the county was organized in 1822 
and serving continuously thirty-eight years. Dr. Davidson was a prominent 
attorney and became well known as one of the judges of the Indiana Supreme \ 
Court. But, the interest of this old document is found in its relation to 
Mr. Ray, and his subsequent actions found on the affidavit contained therein 
and reads: "Indiana, Decatur County, Be it remembered that on this day 
personally appeared before me, the undersigned Clerk of the Decatur Circuit 
Court, George Ray of Trimble County, and state of Kentucky, who being duly 
sworn, on oath says that he has just claim to certain slaves or colored 
persons, of the names and descriptions following, to wit: Caroline, a negro 
woman of the age of about thirty years; Frances, a mulatto girl, of the age 
of about twelve: John, a mulatto boy of the age of about six years: Mandy, 
a mulatto girl of the age of about four years: and Henry, a colored boy 
about twenty months old. That this depondent is the owner of said above 
slaves under the laws of the said state of Kentucky, that the slaves deserted 
and escaped from his service and labor, and became fugitives from such service 
and labor, in the county of Trimble and state of Kentucky, foresaid, on the 
3Gth day of October 1847, and are now fugitives from such service and labor. 
And that said slaves are all, at this time, as depondent verily believes in 
and within the county of Decatur and state of Indiana, and this depondent 
as the owner of said slaves is desirous of arresting said slaves and conveying 
them back to said Trimble County according to law and further he sayeth not. 
"Sworn to before me, the undersigned clerk of Decatur Circuit Court, this 
3 Day of November 1847. Henry H. Talbott, Clerk. 

The rapidity with which the passengers of the Underground Railroad were 
transported may be estimated by recalling the facts that this woman and her 
four children, the youngest less than two years old, had left their home 
in Kentucky on October 31, and were four days later in the extreme northern I 
part of Decatur County, seventy-two hours later they were safe in Canada. 
The escape, capture, rescue and final escape of this colored woman lack no 
element of thrilling adventure; while the trial and conviction of the parties 
assisting her to freedom, from their high standing in social and religious i 
circles, was one of the most interesting and exciting ever witnessed in 1 
southern Indiana. On their way north; Leaving the home of Mr. Ray, a few I 
miles from Bedford, KY, Caroline and her children crossed the Ohio River | 
at Madison, and were placed in care of a Mr. Wagner, who carried them to 


Decatur County and placed them in the hands of Mr. Douglas McCoy, then * 
a young man living at McCoy's Station and now a highly respected citizen 
of Greensburg. For many years there had been a colored settlement near 
Clarksburg in Decatur County, and near this settlement lived Mr. Luther A. 
Donnell, a man of wealth and a friend of the oppressed. Mr. McCoy received 
the fugitives about two o'clock in the morning and immediately started for the 
colored settlement some twelve miles distant, stopping, however, at the home 
of his friend Mr. William M. Hamilton, to inform him of his errand and secure 
his assistance. But it soon became evident that daylight would overtake them 
before they could reach their station, and prompt measures must be taken to 
conceal the fugitives. Near them was a cabin in which a colored man by the 
name of Pernell was living In his care the fugitives wer placed. Mr. McCoy 
returned to the home of Luther A. Donnell for advice and aid. Mr. Donnell 
proposed going himself to the colored settlement and sending some of the 
colored people after the fugitives. This he proceeded to do and Mr. Hamilton 
started to his own home. Pernell, the colored man in whose care the fugitives 
had been placed, having once been a slave himself, but lacking in the bravery 
necessary to jeopardize his own interests for the sake of the race, consequently 
fearing some calamity might befall him if the fugitives were found on his 
premises, he put them on horses and in broad day light, started for the 
colored settlement. They were met by Mr. Hamilton, who at once comprehended 
the danger. He advised that they hurriedly be taken to the home of a colored 
widow near by, who was known to be always willing to incur any risk in 
assisting her people. This was done, and Jane Speed received them kindly, 
concealed them in an old house and sent food to them by her boy during the day. 
which kindness later caused no end of trouble. The old house at some distance 
from her dwelling was nearer the residence of one Woodson Clark, a man who had 
the reputation of being a slave hunter. 

Clark saw Jane Speed's boy enter and leave the old hut. His suspicions were 
aroused. He began to search and found the fugitives secreted in the hay. He 
assured them they were in imminent danger, and proposed conducting them immed- 
iately to the colored settlement. He led them to his own house, secreted them in 
the out buildings of his son, just across the road, and insisted he would send 
for the colored people to come and convey her northward immediately. The woman 
was suspicious of treachery. She knew that she was near people of her own race 
and as it was now night, she left her children and began to search for friends. 
Being a stanger in a stange land, she soon became bewildered, panic stricken, 
and an aimless wanderer on a pitch dark night. As soon as it was dark the 
colored people of the neighborhood assembled at the old hut of Jane Speed, 
discovered that the fugitives were gone, but by the aid of a lantern, succeeded 
in finding tracks which led to the premises of Woodson Clark. The place was 
surrounded, while Mr. Donnel. and Mr. Hamilton were again called on to furnish 
the thought necessary to a successful rescue. 

Every man's house is his castle. There could be no search of Clark's premises 
without due process of law. Hon. John Hopkins, an associate judge of Decatur 
County, was a neighbor of Mr. Donnell, and from him a writ of habeous corpus 
was secured, but the county seal was twelve miles distant, without which the 
writ was void. 

The entire neighborhood was now aroused and arrayed on one side or the other and 
a conflict seemed imminent. One messenger was dispatched to Greensburg for slave 
hunters and another to secure the county seal and sheriff to serve the writ. The 
colored men, instigated by the whites, were armed with hatchets, knives, clubs, 
and firearms, determined that when the sheriff had served the writ and found the 
fugitives, they would defy the law, overpower him, rescue the mother and children 


and place them beyond the reach of foes. But the search proved fruitless 
and the fugitives were lost to their friends. (Rest of article missing) 

UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. Interesting reminiscences of the old slavery days and 
the deeds of the early abolitionists in Jefferson County. Auretta Hoyt in 
Indianapolis Journal, January 31, 1880. 

I read with deep interest, two weeks hence, your sketch of the colored man. 
Chapman Harris, of Madison, and "Incidents in the history of the Madison 
branch of the Underground Railroad." James Nelson and John Tibbetts, at whose 
home Harris was accustomed to stop with his fugitives, according to S. G.'s 
sketch, to "rest and recuperate" and who never failed to do what lay in 
their power to aid the cause, kept the first station on the Underground 
Railroad between Madison and Vernon. 

Of these, James Nelson, was my mother's uncle, and John Tibbetts was his son- 
in-law. So earnest was Mrs. Nelson in her devotion to the cause of the oppresset 
Negro, that her friends used to laughingly say, when she thought very well of 
a person, "Aunt Lucy thinks he is almost as good as a Negro". She is yet i 
living, very aged, in Kansas. Lyman Hoyt, also mentioned, who assisted them 1 
in keeping the station, was my uncle. His widow lives in this city, and her 
daughter, Miss Lois Hoyt, teacher in the tenth district school, while her 
sister. Miss Esther, teaches at Brightwood. I distinctly remember an entire 
colored family by the name of Harris, were received and cared for at Uncle I 
James Nelson's when I was a very little child. I think the father must have 
been a brother of Chapman Harris, spoken of by the Journal's Madison corresponde 
and came from Tennessee. He and his family seem to have been free, how I do not 
know, and came north. I suppose, by the aid of the brother at Madison, encourage 
by James Nelson and his co-workers. They settled at Vernon, and the daughters 
"Letty" and"Ginnie" worked for Aunt Lucy and my grandmother. They were mh 
childish wonder and delight, the first colored woman I had seen and I never 
tired of their kind novel ways and interesting stories. I once stood by and I 
saw Right Rea, the sheriff of Jefferson County, then widely known for his 
prowess in tracing fugitive slaves, serve a warrant of arrest upon Uncle James 
Nelson, under the fugitive slave act, for suspected aid and comfort to some 
runaway slaves. Nothing was proven, but he may have been just as "guilty" then 
as in numberless other instances. 

But, back of the establishment of this branch of the Underground Railroad" is 
a history which I take a daughter's loving pride and pleasure in resurrecting. 
My maternal grandfather, Daniel Hovey Nelson, and his brother James, came to 
Indiana from Vermont in 1820, settling twelve miles northwest of Madison. They, 
with my grandfather's stalwart "Greenmountain Boys" helped level the forests and 
clear out the wolves and other "varmints: from southern Indiana, building their 
own house, making their own farming implements and household furniture, while 
their wives spun and wove their clothing. Ten years later, Lyman Hoyt came ■ 
from the same place, and fifteen years later my father, Benjamin Hoyt, then ' 
unmarried, came. He, with a younger brother, Walter, were assistant engineers 
in constructing the Madison incline plane and the Madison railroad to Columbus. 

In 1839, the first anti-slavery society in Jefferson County, and, so far as I I 
know, in southern Indiana, was organized at Neil's Creek School-house which I 
stood between the houses of James and Daniel Nelson, on ground deeded by them 
for a school house and burying ground forever. The society was first talked of 
by the Nelsons, Hoyts, and Tibbettses in my grandfather's large kitchen and 
common living room, after the county fashion of those days, and organized i 
January 5, 1839, two years after the murder of Owen Lovejoy, I believe. | 


My grandfather was made its first president and so concinued to the end, ^ 
except two years in which Abraham Walton and Samuel Tibbetts respectively 
held the office. John Tibbetts and my father alternately held the secretary- 
ship. One of our family heirlooms has been the book of minutes of this society, 
which, since reading your sketch, I have searched out of the depths of an old 
Vermont spruce chest, where our family archives have been kept, and have 
examined it with deep interest. It covers time from January 5, 1839 to May 
31, 1845. It is yellow with age, and various notes and resolutions on the 
original slips and in the original hand, which were handed in at meetings, 
together with the memoranda of my father's business, I find between the 
leaves where he placed them. Of course, I read this book with very partial 
eyes, but it seems to me there is much in it of general interest, as a part 
and sample of the growth of the anti-slavery struggle, and I note a few 
points: the constitution shows that is was "Auxiliary to the Indiana State 
Anti-Slavery Society". 

Article two says: "The object of the society shall be the entire abolition 
of slavery in the United States. While it admits that each state in which 
slavery exists has by the constitution of the United States the exclusive 
rigth to its abolition in said state. It shall aim to convince all our fellow 
citizens by arguments addressed to their understandings and consciences, that 
slave holding is a heinous sin in the sight of God and that the duty, safety, 
and the best interests of all concerned, require its immediate abandoment with- 
out expartiation. The society will also endeavor, in a constitutional way, 
to influence congress to put an end to domestic slavery in all those portions 
of our common country which come under its control, especially the district 
of Columbia, and likewise to prevent the extension of it to any stat that 
may hereafter be admitted to the union". 

Article three. The society shall aim to elevate the character and condition of 
the people of color, by encouraging their intellectual, moral and religious 
improvement, and by removing public prejudice, but this society shall never 
in any way countencance the oppression in vinvicating their rights by resorting 
to physical force." 

One of the officers of the society was a librarian, and the minutes, further 
on, show that books and documents were purchased for circulation. 
My father's name is first on the list of members and my grandfather's next. The 
roll contains eighty-two names, twelve of them my relatives, wither by blood or 
marriage, and I am proud of such philanthropic blood in my own veins, on both 
sides. My mother and my grandmother's names are on this roll, as well as those 
of three aunts. Also, the name of Mrs. Helen Rockwood, of this city, who, with 
her husband recently deceased, resided then at Wirt, Jefferson County. 
On my father's grave stone were placed the words I 

"The stranger could not know his worth but to his friends, his memory 
is his best epitaph." 

"Underground Railroad" by Auretta Hoyt in Indianapolis Journal 31 January 1880. 

"Abolition Days" Building of Eleutherian College near Lancaster. By Paul Dowell 

The Madison Courier, Madison, Indiana. August 12, 1912. 
On a small knoll overlooking the village of Lancaster, Indiana, stands what 
remains of the Eleutherian College, founded in 1851 by Thomas Craven, A.M. 
This interesting relic of the days of abolition was once a thriving institution, 
with a yearly attendance of more than 100 students, including both Negros and 


When the famous Underground Railroad was being operated by Negro sympathizers, 
the Eleutherian College was regarded as one of the most important stations. 
As nearly as can be learned from those who were once on the "inside", the 
college was the third station of the Madison route, which began at a small 
settlement known as Bee Camp, a few miles above Madison on the Ohio River. 
(He probably refers to "Eagle Hollow" W.S.D.) 

In charge of this first station was a Negro blacksmith. Chapman Harris, by 
name. The fugitive slave, on arriving at the northern Kentucky border, were 
then taked by four stalwart sons of Harris and ferried across the river in 
cover of darkness. Harris himself, on the Indiana shore giving signals by 
striking the anvil if the coast was clear. After being kept here for a day, 
the runaway Negros were sent on to the next station, which was located on the 
Hanover Road, a mile below Madison. (Clifty Creek). 

This old house, which was torn down four year ago, was a one story building, 
the west end of which contained a large stone chimney. A few feet above the 
fireplace in this chimney there was a secret compartment where the Negros could 
be hidden if necessary. 

From here they were taken over the hills to Lancaster and the college. The 
more intelligent of the Negros were educated here before being sent on to 
the Canadian border. Across the road from the college stood a barn owned by 
a man named Tibbett, a fiery abolitionist, under the barn there was a small 
cellar opening into a blind tunnel. In case operations were suspected and a 
search instituted, the Negros were placed in the tunnel, while hay was thrown 
down from the loft, filling the cellar and concealing the entrance. After the 
searchers had departed, the Negros resumed their studies at the college. 

Owing to the extreme danger of information leaking out through various channels, 
there were but a few blacks educated until after the Civil War had ended. It was 
the firs school of higher education in the United States in which whites and 
Negros wer placed on equal terms. In this respect it was the forerunner of the 
famous Berea College in Kentucky, which, until a few years ago, numbered 
many Negros among its students. 

The college consisted of a dormitory and a larger building containing the class 
rooms. The two buildings were similar in shape and construction, both having ,j 
been rectangular and build of rough stone. I 

What was once an assembly room or chapel takes up the entire first floor of the 
larger structure. One half of this is tiow used as a public school room by the 
village of Lancaster. On the second floor are six class rooms while the third 
floor is unfinished. The dormitory contains twenty rooms, each large enough 
to accomodate two persons. The most careful inquiry among the residents of 
Lancaster failed to ascertain whether or not whites shared rooms with Negros. 
These two buildings were erected by Thomas Craven, after years of toil and Jj 
struggle and against adverse circumstances. On horseback, he traveled through I 
the country lecturing and campaigning for funds with which to carry on the work. 
Finally enough money was obtained to erect one building. This first structure 
was the one used as a dormitory. Classes were held here until the main hall was 
completed. After the college had gotten its start, there yet remained the 
problem of obtaining funds for its maintenance and Craven again entered on 
his weary round of lectures, which lasted until he died in 1860. f 

Work at the college continued for twenty-two years after his death. It was 
finally forced to close its doors for lack of support. 

The records of this quaint institution have been destroyed, evidently, for no 
trace of them can be found. The son of Thomas Craven was one of the instructors 
in the school, as also were Professors Hoyt, Blynn, and Braselton. The names of 
other instructors can not be obtained. 

Thomas Craven is buried in College Hill Cemetery and his grave is marked 
by a marble slab, bearing this inscription: "Elder Thomas Craven, A. M. A 
Christian Reformer and Philanthropist, with his son, founded The Eleutherian 
College, Open To All Without Regard To Sex Or Color." "Born in Penn. March 19, 
1792. Died at College Hill, IND. August 21, 1860. 

Hand written sheets, probably Miss D. Cravens, "Articles of Faith. Rules of 

Order and Records of Church Meetings of The Neil's Creek. Anti-Slavery 

Baptist Church." 

Article 1. We believe that The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired 

and is a perfect treasure of Heavenly instruction and that it has God for its 

Author and Salvation for its end. 2 Peter: 1,21: 2 Tim: 3, 16-17. 

Article 2. We believe that there is one and only one true and living God, whose 

name is Jehovah, The Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and Earth. PS. 83; 18 

Romans 1;20. 

Article 3. We believe that man was created in the state of holiness under the 

law of his maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy 

state in consequence of which all men are now sinners. Gen:l;27-31, Rom: 6;21 


Article 4. We believe that the great Lord Jesus Christ bestowed on such as 

believe on him justification, and that purification consists in the 

pardon of sins and the promise of eternal life on principles o£ rightiousness. 

Acts: 13; 39 and Romans 5; 1-2. 

Article 5, We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all men 

by the Gospel and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on 

earth but his own voluntary refusal to comply with the requirements of the 

Redeemer. John; 5; 4, Rev. 22; 17. 

Article 6. We believe that Baptism is the immersion of the believer in water 

in the name of The Father, Son and of the Holy Ghost. Rom.6;l-14, Acts. 8; 36-39, 

Matthew 3;5-6. 

Article 7. We believe that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of 

Baptised Belivers associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the 

Gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by His love and priviliges 

invested in them by His Word. Acts;2;41, Matthew 18; 17. 

Article 8. We believe that the church has the power to choose, and by elders, 

to ordain those officers that Christ has appointed in his church, vis. 

Elders or Pastors, Deacons, also to depose such officers as walk contrary 

to the rules of the Gospel, and to discipline their members. Acts 3;26, 

I Tim. 4;14, Mat. 18;15-18, Titus 3;10-11. 

Article 9. We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the 

interests and good order of human society, and that rulers are to be prayed 

for unceesingly, honored and obeyed, except in things opposed to the Word of 

our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the only Lord of the conscience and the Prince 

of the kings of the earth. 

Article 10. We believe that the Lord's Day ought to be observed and spent in 

the private social and public worship of God and that we should abstain from all 

secular labor and recreation except in cases of necessity or mercy. 

Article 11. We believe that slavery or the holding of property in human beings 

is a violation ofthe principles of Christianity. All moral precepts which God 

has given to men. Jer.22;13, Lev.ll;13, James 5;l-7, Song of Sol. l;5-6 

Members April 1846; Abraham Walton, Sr., John H. Tibbetts, Sarah Tibbetts. 

June 1846;Rebecca Burr. July 1846; Lamuel Record, Ulary H. Record, James Nelson. 

December 1846; James Hays. 1847; Sally Hays, Thomas Craven, Isiah Walton, Elizab' 

Walton, Susan Hickland. March 1847; Sarah Hall, J. G. Craven, Emoline Walton, 

Elizabeth Walton, Margaret Hickland. 1849; John C. Thompson, Lucinda Thompson. 

1850; Samuel Tibbetts, Sr., Isabella Tibbetts, Henry Hicklin, Martha Hicklin, 


1851; Harriet Hoyt. 

1853; Martha Craven, Susan Bur, Lucy Hoyt, Lucy Jefferson, Isabella Thomas, 

Georgiana Jefferson, Martha A. Butler, Mary Judking, Calvin Hildrith, Fanny 

Hiidrith, Leydia Hildrith, Priscilla Parker. 

1854; Orcita (?) Hoyt, Sarah Hoyt. 

1855; Wm. Green, Ann Elpin, Mary A. Recent; Mary Hoyt; May Hoyt; Rebecca Graver 

Jefferson Judkins, Eugene K. Tibbetts, James Walling, Martha Hoyt. 

1857; Lucinda Thompson, John Brown, George Hildreth, Eliza Hildreth, Ruth 

Hibbard, Miles Hildreth. 

1856; Ch. W. Harris, Milton Craven, Elizabeth Craven. 

1858; Thomas Baldwin, Nancy Craven, Sam'l Tibbetts, Mary A. Tibbetts, Rueben 

Walker and Susan B. Walker, Thirsa Walker, W. A. Johnson. 

1859; Wm. Clist (?), Mary Clist (?). 

1860; Ensely Craven, Loretta McKingis. 

END, Neil's Creek Anti-Slavery Baptist Church. 

(Sheet from Miss Cravens' Notes. 

CANAAN neighborhood had pronounced anti-slavery and pro-slavery elements. 
Seem to have lived at dagger's drawn, according to the informant cited below. 
Lott was an Abolitionist of the extreme type, and near him The Knights of the 
Golden Circle held secret meetings. (sheet missing). 

In the western part of the county, a difinite route seems to have had as its 
first station a small Negro settlement called Graysville, which stood north 
of Hanover. Anderson Grey, from whom the place took its name was active in 
the Underground Railroad. 

John G. Craven, the minister's son, having just received his degree from 
Miami University, took charge. The first meetings were held in the church 
and until a more suitable building could be erected. The attendance from 
the beginning was encouraging. Rev. Craven was made the traveling agent for 
Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois and through his efforts a considerable sum was 
secured for the new building, which was completed. Among those said to have 

been educated in Eleutherian College were two pages 2,3,& 4 missing. 

Page 5. In 1830, a secret road was established from Jef f ersonville through 
Charlestown, Lexington, Vernon, Greensburg, to Newport in Wayne County, where 
a junction was effected with a road running from a point near Cincinnati to 
Detroit, the gateway to the promised land. Shortly after the organization 
of this road, George Evans, a Negro living near Hanover, learning of its 
existance, and enthusiastic over its object, entered into communication 
with other managers and was enlisted in the service. In 1832, a conference 
was held at his home, the result of which was a change of route, henceforth 
to run from Jef f ersonville to Evan's home, whereby the latter was enabled to 
conduct the fugitives from that point to Vernon, where communication with 
the Jef f ersonville Road was convenient. Thus, Evans, with the aid of the 
Negros about Hanover and Greenbriar, whose names are not know, succeeded in 
effecting the escape of many slaves. At this time the anti-slavery crusade 
fould several powerful desirables living in Madison and Lancaster. Among 
whom were John Loring was prominent. Despite the secrecy with which the 
underground operations were conducted, there were sufficient recaptures to 
justify a suspician of treachery in part of the Negros (page 7 & 8 missing) 
Among those who largely contributed to the sucess of the undertaking were 
the Nelsons-Daniel, James and Jefferson- brothers, and the Neals, imbued 
with a deep seated hatred of the slave system. They lived near each other in 
a little village three miles west of Lancaster, on Neil's Creek. 


During the leadership of Elijah Anderson, the people of Jefferson County 

experienced a change of sentiment on the question of slavery, in favor of 

its abolition and two of the most enthusiast apostles, or champions, were 

James Baxter, who lived in Monroe Township near Baxter' Schoolhouse and 

Jesse Wagner, who lived on the Graham Road, both the head of the oldest and 

most respected families in the county. The homes of both men were made so 

called stations of the underground railroad and both did efficient work for year^ 

Ryker's Ridge swarmed with Friends of Freedom, and the Rykers, Ledgerwoods, 
Almonds, Trotters, and the Stewarts made no concealment of their views. The 
organization, complete save for an earnest practical leader, and that person 
was found in John Carr, under whose management, the organization took on 
new life 

There is vague mention of a route up by way of Clifty Creek and the old 
London Road to Lancaster as early as the twenties, when John Sering, a 
pronounced Abolitionist, took an active part in the movement, long before 
the Underground Railroad System was established. 

An Anti-Slavery Baptist Church, formed near Lancaster, was not permitted 
to affiliate with the Madison Baptist Churches, but united with an Association 
of Anti-Slavery Baptist Churches in northern Ohio, but, with the outbreak 
of the Civil War, it was admitted to membership in the Madison Association. 
The existence of this church and the above status suggested Lancaster as 
a fit place for the education of the blacks as well as the whites to Rev. 
Thomas Craven of Oxford, Ohio, who had ridden over a hundred miles to preach 
to the abolitionists. 

In the early forties, two distinct branches of the Underground Railroad 
were established in this county, both leading from points on the river to 
Quaker Settlements to the north in Ripley County. The eastern route extended 
through Eagle Hollow by way of Ryker's Ridge (What I want to say is this, 
that the slaves arriving at Eagle Hollow took one of two routes, or branches, 
after leaving said hollow, one way was by Ryker's Ridge, the other was by 
way of Graham Road to the northwest. The station on this route (Graham Road) 
was Wagners) along Indian Kentuck Creek through Shelby Township thence 
north east. A great many of the fugitives went north over the Graham Road 
as far as John Wagners (The latter for many years an active conductor, his 
old blacksmith shop still stands and is used as a stable by the owner of the 

property Wattlington. Mr. Wagner made a habit of cutting a niche on one 

of the logs of his shop every time he secreted a slave. The writer recently 
visited the old building and counted the niches. (No count given by Miss 

Having read Miss Auretta Hoyt ' s interesting and instructive article on 
the anti-slavery men of Jefferson County she writes, "We as a family were 
personally in many of the events she enumerates, she closes her statistics 
in May 1845. The society continued its way until it was merged into the 
Republican Party, when the principles of liberty for the oppressed in our 
land began to assume a political position outside the church, and a con- 
structive one inside ist sacred portals. The individual work, however, of 
the virtuous worthies named by Miss Hoyt still went on relentlessly as the 
occasion required and my wardrobe has responded to the benelovent call of 
dear Aunt Lucy Nelson's, when the stranger was in her house and required 
the raiment necessary to help them out of our boasted America to the 


Dominion of Canada. Also, the boots of my husband were given when "Uncle 
James" knew of a man who needed them more than he did. 

ABOLITIONISM** An old document brought to light. Madison Courier 22 Jan. 1892 
During the recent visit of our old friend Rev. John G. Craven, now of Beloit 
Kansas to this county and city, he gave us the manuscript of the original 
call for the first great Anti-Slavery Convention at Indianapolis, with a 
number of the names of the signers to call for the same. There were besides 
the names appended, quite a number of others who rendered efficient service 
in promotion the objects of the Convention—notably the late Judge Stephen 
C. Stevens, of this city. Prof. Craven is remembered by many of the Courier 
readers as President of the Eleutherian College at College Hill, this 
county. We append the full text of the call: Anti-Slavery Conventions at 

1. The lovers of our Lord Jesus Christ who are laboring for the advancement 
of his kingdom, are invited to meet in convention at Indianapolis on the 
fourth Tuesday in May next at ten a.m. to ascertain by what means we can 
most successfully array the moral power of religion, the Church, and our 
Benevolent Organizations against the system of American Slavery, which has 
recently infringed so seriously upon the rights of our consciences, which 
has always disregarded the conscience of the slave, and which now presents 
an almost insurmountable barrier to the progress of pure religion through- 
out our beloved country. Shall we "for whom to live is Christ" count any 
sacrifice too great by which we shall be instrumental in making our land 
Emmanuel s land, and our fellow-citizens and the poor slaves fellow heirs 
of immortal life? Come Brethern and Sisters, "Come up to the help of the 
Lord against the mighty." 

2 On the 29 of May a convention will assemble of the friends of Human Rights 
who believe that the Federal Government was instituted for the protection of 
rights and who are opposed to the revolutionary party, who are aiming to 
employ it to make war upon human rights; and who are willing to appeal to 
this public conscience and sympathy in behalf of the colored portion of the 
population of the State, inasmuch as their rights and best interests are 
seriously threatened by certain clauses which it proposed to adopt in the 
new Constitution. Let the patriot and the Christian put forth his utmost 
exertion to save our beloved state, and the county, from the reproaches 
of the world and the judgement of a Just God, 

Signed; John G. Craven, James Nelson, James M. Montgomery, James P. Brown, 
R. R. Clark, Angus McKay, John P. Brown, Nehemiah Stites, E. B. Roger, 
Martha W. Craven, Barbara M. Thompson, Margaret McKay, Lucy Hoyt, Mary 
Hoyt, Esther McKay, Barbara McKay, Mary McKay, Emeline Stites. 

That public opinion was gradually yielding to the Abolition movement may be 
inferred from the organization of the Eleuthrian College at Lancaster in the 
summer of 1846. This institution had for its object the co-education of the 
two races. It had its inception in a small anti-slavery Baptist Church at 
Middlefork (?). Rev. Thomas Craven, from Ohio, an ardent Abolitionist, having 
heard of the Anti-Slavery congregation, rode ninety miles on horseback to 
visit the church. He impressed the people so favorably that arrangements 
were made immediately whereby he was to preach once a month and he did, 
making the journey of ninety miles on horseback. For some time the minister 
had pondered over the establishment of a school which would throw open its 
doors to the ambitious Negro but the bitter prejudice prevailing made it 
impracticable. At his suggestion, however, the little Baptist Community 
attempted the project, beginning with a ten acre lot donation from the 
minister, they succeeded in founding one of the most unique institutions in 
the west. 


Rev. John Craven's father, Thomas, went to England (at least New England) 
in the interest of Eleutherian College. His sermons, bitter politically, 
offended many, mostly those of Pro-Slavery principles. "Firearms were 
carried into the church, revolvers sometimes falling from the coat pockets 
as Deacons rose from prayer" Rememberance J. Williams, son of Robert, a 
charter member of the Middlefork Church, when asked the cause of the 
dissolution of the organization replied, "Twas politics done it. Prof. 
Craven of Lancaster College did more than anyone else to break it up, he 
preached nothing but politics." 

On Saturday, January 5, 1839, the first and only Anti-Slavery Society was 
organized at the Neil's Creek School House in Lancaster Township. The 
minutes show that Rev Lewis Hicklin presided and J. C. Tibbetts officiated 
as Secretary of the first meeting. In the Constitution adopted, we more 
clearly understand the calm determined attitude of those noble apostles of 
liberty, who pledged themselves to use every constitutional means to secure 
the abolition of slavery throughout the nation. 

In April of 1839 this agressive society sent as delegates to the Greensburg 
meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society, Rev. Lewis Hicklin, Lyman 
Hoyt, Elh. Higgens, J. C. Tibbetts, Lemuel Wells, and Isiah Walton. Some 
of whom henceforth ably represented the society at every Anti-Slavery 
Convention held within a reasonable distance. 

Perhaps the most important action of the society was the appointment of 
a committee on May 25, 18A4, to organize the Anti-Slavery men of Jefferson 
County into a Liberty Party, thus carrying the war into the political arena. 

Successful arrangements having been made, a convention was called for July 
18th at Mount Pleasant Meeting House, one mile north of Madison, when a 
ticket was put into the field. A central committee was appointed and a 
vigorus campaign was waged. This party, having advocates throughout the 
county, gradually superceeded and absorbed the Anti-Slavery Society, 
which performed a Herculean task, that of having paved the way. 

The society was kept in close touch with the Anti-Slavery work throughout 
the state. Meetings were held at wich stiring addresses were made by the 
zealous men allied with the cause and not infrequently the Abolition papers, 
The Cincinnati Philanthropist" would be read or the speaches of Giddings 
and Julian. So earnestly determined were these men and women that they 
made a compact to deny themselves of all products of slave labor. 

Auretta Hoyt, a daughter of Ljnnan Hoyt, one of the directors of the Neil's 
Creek Society, in a reminiscence says "We little folks felt the power ot 
this resolution on the question of sugar and molasses, I distinctly 
remember that we almost wished they would be less conscientious." 

The following officers were elected; President, Daniel H. Nelson; Vice- 
President, Abram Walton; Secretary, J. C. Tibbetts; Treasurer, James 
Nelson; Directors, Jefferson Nelson, Lyman Hoyt and Samuel Wells; 
Librarian, Earl Tibbetts. 


Madison Weekly Courier February 18, 1860. 

I well remember the trial of Chapman Harris and Elijah Anderson in the 
Jefferson County Court for being engage in the work mentioned. They 
were the leaders of a party of some 25-30 colored who whipped nearly 
to death one John Simmons, a colored man for betraying the whereabouts 
of a fugitive slave. They were prosecuted by the late Judge Joseph 
E. Marshall, perhaps the ablest lawyer Indiana ever produced. After 
a long and tedious trial they were sentenced, I think a fine of two 
hundred dollars each. It was difficult to get evidence VS them for 
those who knew the facts would not give them to the court. 

Judge Marshall pressed the inditement as to James Burke and 

several others who had been indited in order to make witnesses of 
them but the expedient proved in vain, for they would not tell what 
they knew, and had it not been for a wound on Harris's lip, both 
he and Anderson might have gone acquited. This scar was the tell-tale 
that satisfied the jury of Harris and Anderson's guilt. In 1854/5 
Harris was arrested in Louisville on having a pistol found on his 
person. He was heavily fined and condemed to work in the workhouse. 
Judge Allison of Madison, learning of the last circumstance, immediately 
went to Louisville and effected his release. 

Chapman Harris's farm of forty acres on Ryker's Ridge, joined that of 
W.W. Wollen and the latter knew the former well and employed one of 
the boys to work for him. Woolen considered Harris an honest, fear- 
less man and in the service of the Underground Railroad as an 
operator, in which he felt sure Harris had a share, though the latter, 
in all of the years that he knew him, never divulged a word in regard 
to it. Mr. Woolen opined that Harris had been a fugitive slave. He said 
"One morning as I started to Madison very early, just as I crossed the 
Eagle Hollow bridge, I saw a wagon coming towards me at a rapid rate. It 
was apparently filled with boys of fugitives and when it overtook me, the 
driver asked the way to Ryker's Ridge. I gave him the necessary directions 
and a few moments afterwards met Anderson, an associate with Harris in 
the Underground, and told him what I had Just seen and done. He thanked 
me and walked on. That day I learned some fugitive slaves had landed 
at daylight on the river bank between Bee Camp and Eagle Hollow. Ther 
were in a wagon that I had seen and found a place of refuge. I have 
seen the fugitive slaves hunted over the hills and through the valleys 
about Chapman Harris's home, some few were caught and taken back to 
slavery. But the greater numbers succeeded in passing north. If they 
could reach Chapman's house they were safe for he would surrender them 
with his life." 

A correspondent to the Indianapolis Journal, writing while Harris was 
still alive and presumably from an interview with him, gives an account 
of Underground Railroad" methods at this point on the river. He says 

Communication was kept up with conductors on the other side bv means of 
well known signals. Heite would usually make his journeys on foot, some- 
times twenty miles to and fro in the night, returning to his work the 
following day, possibly shaving the man whose slave he had assi;jted to 
escape the previous night." 

Underground Railroad men of Shelby Township mentioned bv David R. S. 
Spencer were Christophen Whitten, C.Voris, Jesse Lott and John Shaw. 

Mrs. Matthews, nee Sarah Shannon, of Hanover, her father was a '■•> 

conductor on the Underground Railroad. Mrs. Thompson was a sister of 
Rev. Thomas Craven. 

Mr, Louis Evans' shoestore for years on Main Street, was long a popular 
man and a conspicuous figure in a high silk hat. Grayson says that the 
southern element and the Baltimore Maryland Godmans nurtured a great 
predjudice towards the negro and Evans. 

John Carter, born in Lexington, KY in 1814, lived in Cincinnati until 
the famous mob vs free negros in 1830 drove him to Canada. For years 
Steward, in the Ohio and Mississippi, availed himself of the opportunity 
for assisting fugitive slaves. He would store away the "living merchan- 
dice and guide them toward the north states. He established himself 
in business in Madison and continued a zealous worker on the Underground 
Railroad. He was the leading spirit in the colored church in Jefferson 
County, was a philanthropic man and recognized as the quardian of his 
people's interest, a good man and a good story teller, he died May 12, 1878. 

There was, until recent years, on the Hanover Road at the mouth of Clifty 
Creek, an old two story frame house built in the early thirties by John 
B. Todd, and which is said to have been one of the stations of the 
Underground Railroad, and to have been conducted by Todd and his brother. 
Little is know of its history and operation but the route up Clifty Creek 
and on to the old state road, then to Lancaster and Vernon, etc, was one 
of the longest and most resorted to. 

John Sering was one of the earliest active Abolitionists in this county. He 
was associated with the Underground Railroad and managed the safe transit 
of many bondsmen. 

Auretta Hoyt in some reminlsences furnished for this work, gives an 
interesting insight into the lives and characters of those early "Warriors 
of the Faith". "In 1847, my father moved to Madison Hill on the Lanier 
farm. In 1848, 49, and 50, I was going to school with the Marshalls, Hites, 
Derings, Mclntyres, Garbers, Harbours, Paynes, Gillets, Cranes and other 
early Madison familes and I well remember on several occasions, when we 
were discussing who our respective fathers "were for" politically, proudly 
saying my father was a "Free Soiler". My innocent mates were not politicians 
and did not know but that was as respectable as any other party. Those 
Abolitionists were quiet, ambitious, earnest, intelligent men of the stuff 
of which heros and martyrs are made. The tears come to my eyes as I recall 
them all, and the unflinching firmness with which they stood their convictions 
and were willing to be called by the despised name of "Free Soiler", and to 
leave their comfortable homes at dead of night to help the poor slave on 
towards the north star, and to treat him as a man and brother, regardless 
of the contempt of neighbors. 

William Phelps and George White, two excentric and bold characters, who 
had been ir the employ of the road near Cincinnati, came to Madison in 
1845, and enlisted in the service here. It was their duty to furnish 


the plantation slaves with the necessary information to carry them as 
far as the river. This service was extremely hazardous, since their 
seizure was equivalent to death or the penitentiary. Hence the necessity 
of their constant change of location. After three years of hazardous work, 
they left Madison for other fields. 

At this period, 1845, Chapman Harris, perhaps the most faithful and efficient 
negros connected with the Underground Railroad in this county, is said to have 
had a horse so well trained that it would carry a fugitive to the next station 
and return unattended. Mr. J. W. Trinkle, Republician Township, says that 
his father, John George Trinkle, and Milton and Preston Wiley (the father 
of Dr. Harvey Wiley, U. S. Chemist) were the only ones in their neighborhood, 
the northeastern part of Republician Township, with Abolition sentiments, or 
who would even give employment to Negors. A few miles further on was the 
notable Abolition neighborhood (Lancaster) where the Anti-Slavery Society 
and afterwards the church and school stood. Here James Nelson, John Tibbitts, 
Lyman Hoyt, and a number of others were prepared to harbor and conduct the 
fugitives who reached them. 

References to newspaper articles, probably from The Madison Courier: 

Ordinance regarding free education of orphans. June 19, 1844, page 2. 

Liberty Meeting in Lancaster Township. July 3, 1844. 

Delia Webster, January 8, and 29th, 1845. 

Anti-Slavery Liberty Party meeting and ticket. March 26, 1845. 

Anti-Slavery attack on Liberty Party, April 9, 1845. 

Liberty Party, September 19, 1844. 

Octoroon, entered army at 16 and died in service, A good many attended, 

heaviest darky attendance during 1858-1860. 

Juliet Wilson, a girl and employed at Judge Cravens attempted to fire the 

Cravens house about 1862 or 63. 

People who sheltered slaves, Lyman Hoyt, whose house stood where Big 
Creek and Middlefork join, at cave. John Tibbetts, north of College, one 
half mile. The Strickland family lived near Ripley. 


I'm on my way to Canada 

that free and happy land. 

The dire effects of slavery 

I can no longer stand. 

My soul is vexed within me so 

To think I am a slave, 

I have resolved to strike a blow 

for freedom or the grave. 

I hear that Queen Victoria says 

if we will all forsake our land of chains and slavery 

and come across the lake. 

She will be standing on the shore 

with arms extended wide 

to give us all a pleasant home 

beyond the rolling tide. 

The Hounds are baying on my track, old master just behind, 

but I am off for Canada, my liberty to find, 

And if I gain that distand shore, the dogs will stop this side 

They cannot follow fugitives beyond the rolling tide. 


Benajah Hoyt died 1851, age 42, leaving a widow, Harriet H. and four 
children, Auretta who died in '83, Laura (Mrs. Smith King), Clara 
(Mrs. Edgar Williams), and Daniel Walter Hoyt. Harriet H. lived to be 
85 years old, leaving this book among her effects. Daniel Nelson died 
in 1852, age 71, Nancy Nelson, his beloved wife, died in 1850. They 
were the parents of Harriet Hoyt. James Nelson was a younger brother of 
Daniel Nelson. He was a soldier in the War of 1812 and an active member 
of the Underground Railroad, as were most of these people. He was twice 
arrested with others by Wright Rea, Sheriff of Jefferson County, and 
charged with aiding runaway slaves and taken to jail at Madison, was 
released on bond, no further action was taken in the case. He was about 
70 years old when he died. His widow, Lucy Nelson, lived to be 90. 
Their children were Sarah Ann and Joseph Nelson. 

Jefferson Nelson, son of Daniel and Nancy Nelson, and his wife Mary 
Nelson died at Paris, Indiana where two daughters still live. Mrs. 
Elvera Dixon, Miss Ella Nelson, and Hiram Nelson live at Vernon, IN. 
A daughter, Mrs. Kate Hinson lives in Indiana. 

Lyman Hoyt, an older brother of Benajah, was a leader in the Underground 
Railroad. His children; Gersham and Lucy Ann (Mrs. Thompson), Mary Jurst, 
Sarah, Lois, Ester B. and Henry. 

Lemuel Wells was the father of Merrett Wells, formerly a dentist, and 
Rev. Martin Wells, both of Indiana. 

Joshua C. Tibbetts, Secretary, his wife was Jane L Tibbetts. Earl T. 
was a physician, his wife was Mammie; Sarah Ann Nelson married John 
C. Tibbetts, both living at Mound Vally, Kansas. A letter from Elliott 
R. Tibbetts of Indianapolis, dated about 1950 states, "Dr. Samuel 
Tibbetts and wife had six children and their son, Samuel, Jr., was my 
grandfather, the father of Eugene, who was my father." My grandparents 
Samuel and Mary Ann Tibbets, assisted Professor Cravens in establishing 
the Eleutherean College at Lancaster and during the early period of its 
founding. Dr. Craven (a minister) prevailed upon my grandparents to take 
father with him on an eastern trip in order to collect funds for the 
founding and maintenance of the college, during their trip father 
kept a complete diary of their doings and in it he recored the fact that 
Dr. Cravens and himself were entertained in the home of Harriett Beecher 
Stowe, at Andover, Mass. She gave them a liberal contribution toward the 
fund, knowing that it was to be used for the abolition and education of 
negro slaves. This little diary is now in my possession, as well as many 
writings of my grandmother, Mary Ann Tibbets. She wrote both prose and 
poetry and made several scrap books of her writings, most of her writings 
were of a spiritual nature. 

Emaline Walton, a school teacher, presided over the Neil's Creek School 
several years. She became the second wife of Jospeh Buchanan, then of 
Cumberland, Iowa. Samuel Tibbetts, husband of Mary Ann, and Eugene T. , 
of Madison, were their sons. A daughter, Mrs. Wallace, married and lived 
in that county. The four Tibbetts were from Ohio, Nelsons and Hoyts 
from Vermont, Helen Rockwood, for years a resident of Indiana, now with 
Mrs. Houford; Edson. Mary Hoyt was a sister of Lyman Hoyt and Benajah 
Hoyt. John Matley was the son of an English weaver of that name, came 
from near Cincinnati. Amos and Ann Hutchinson, his wife, moved to 
Evansville. Herman, a son of Daniel Nelson, lives in EvansviHe. 


James Hoyt bglt a grist mill at Lancaster. 

Sarah Hall, wife of Lemuel Wells. (f„m minute book) 

Sa""i;o"„'2out^! Aptillf l'4l'™'""""°*' °«=^«"^= FOUNDIKC-WOMA^.S DAY. 

"we's^'i^rrL 's l; "t-et ■•iiz'iToii'-' ?r'- r -it' '"^'- 

and John »;. ? ■■• °™" ""^ Publisher of the Madison Courier, 

L"?if a\e%i";"s%:rrtJiri:; rde'ad-i^ft^jr^Lf °c^°rie:L'r^ -^" 

Churc'h r'd'""/.'/"! '='"""'■• •"""°^»>' ' "l°"d mafl; L Walnut Street 
Church and was Indited. The case never came to trial and was flnaU, quLJed. 

a^Hlth'sld'^f'/ "';%'" '"" "°''"' ^ "1°"" »»" of "■""« '■"ame active 
to buy a iJtt?. brrr; ^"""^'^^ ""te leaders of Madison. Initiated a mlve 

in^ ll'^-lT '"''"'/' P-chL"1rom LJInf a':d^hir:JL"«:r;:?:J"' 


Hls^%ea:iTZriT\': ''! T^^^^"- "^""'"^ °^ ^^^ ^^-"- Choir ^er I 
rn^K T l^f^i pianist and leader; Mrs. Louis Whittaker. Mrs. Virginia 
Cosby Mrs Elizabeth Smith. Mrs. Henrietta O'Bannion. Mrs. Edith WhlttaJer 
Mrs Gertrude Alums, Mrs. Angelina Inskeep. Mrs. Harriett Inskeep and 
Alphonso Whittaker. William Cosby. Robert Smith and Cli ord 5o L 
The occasion also celebrated the installation of a new heatinf plan^ 

i:p"r:::::nt" ''^ ^-"^"^ ^''^ - "^"^°^- ^ ^— ^ a^r^^h^j^^^iuabie 


TTthilditor °M T''''r' 'f '''T '"' ""'^ ''^''"^ ^^ ^^ C- JOHNSON, 
friend. rn;.^'°" Courier, "I have bee^ requested by some of my 
fre St 1 vl; r^n ""' ^'^ings that occured in my early life-things that 
that pait oTmJ "y ""ll^'^tlons. As it is not generally known for whom 
that part of Madison known as Georgetown was named, I can tell you A 
colored family by the name of Hopkins owned and lived in the house "where 
Cha;ie H ^;S^^"' yif-' -« li-- (there were two brothers, George and 
Charles Hopkins living in the house, and name "Georgetown" was originated 
from the first brother's name. At that time Georgetown was mostly fnhabited 


by a good class of colored people, who lived from the northside of the 
alley north of Miller's Alley, along both sides of the street. 1 caa 
remember possibly four white families that lived there and on Fifth Street 
west to Jefferson were colored families. On the spot where Mr. Schneider's 
Meat Shop now stands, was the M.E. Church (colored) and the congregation 
built the A. M. E. Church on Poplar Street. The colored people I refer 
to were industrious and worthy citizens, all owning their own homes and 
were highly respected by the better class of white people. 

But, one day in the forties, I do not remember the exact date, without any 
provocation, there came a mob, and it was a mob not named up of republicans. 
Letters written afterwards showed that the mob organixed at the house of 
one Amos Phillips, on Third Street, between Elm and Vine. His was the only 
house that they did not enter that day. The mob left the Phillips home and 
went east on Third Street, and in passing the alley they saw my mother's 
log cabin, and a lot of frightened children, as the yells of those 100 

or men came on down to where Mr. '_s home now stands, that was our home, 

and when they lined up like soldiers in front of this house, every man and 
boy had a club or stick in his hand. My mother faced those men, who were 
molesting the negros without cause, and she expressed her opinion of them 
right to their faces. They never said a word in reply, but after going 
through the house and finding no arms or weapons, they left, going in the 
house of every colored family looking for fire arms. 

Lewis Evans, who wore a silk hat and Prince Albert coat conducted a business 
here, but was hated for being "a colored gentleman'. He was the only colored 
person who left the city. He owned a little farm out on the Graham Road and 
when they found that he had left the city members of the mob threatened to 
bring him back and deal summarily with him. 

A number of the leaders, mounted on horses, went out the Michigan Road and 
crossed to the Evan's farm, but a friend (a man named Foster, who at that 
time was living where the Lucht home now stands) had informed Evans of the 
mob's intention. Mr. Foster was an officer of some kind and went out Walnut 
Street to Mr. Evan's farm. As Mr. Foster's horse came sweeping through 
Walnut Street it was covered with foam (Sheridan's ride of twenty mile away). 
He delivered Mr. Evans to the home of Wm. Lodge, this was where the Danner 
Boarding House is now. 

When the mob came and demanded Mr. Evans, Mr. Lodge met them with a double 
barrel shot gun and said that the first man that entered his door was a dead 
man. The mob returned to Amos Phillips' house and fired shot after shot. The 
brave old colored man would not give up. Just before daylight his ammunition 
gave out and they broke in and beat him and left him to die, but he recovered 
and lived many more years. And now if any colored man cast a vote, I hope 
that they will stand by the Grand Old Party, which has always been our true 
and trusted friend, even in the darkness of slavery. I forgot to speak of Mr. 
Caleb Lodge, who came to my mother that day and told her to bring her children 
to his house that night or we would be killed. She then thanked him for his 
kind offer and said she had done nothing to cause this mob and if she had to 
die, it would be under her own roof. 

No one has ever spoken of Elijah Anderson. *He had a blacksmith's shop on the 
corner of Walnut and Third Streets, on the south side of the street. Mr. 
Anderson was deeply interested in the Underground Railroad. He, being a man 
of color, helped his fellowmen to freedom. Once there was a crowd of run- 
away slaves crossed the Ohio River to this city and Mr. Anderson went with 
them to Cincinnati. After placing them in the hands of another conductor, 
they went safely to Chatham, Canada. As Mr. Anderson boarded the mail boat 
down, which was then the steamer "Superior", he was betrayed by someone, who 
telegraphed to Louisville to a man by the name of Bly. This man made his 
living in those days by catching runaway slaves. 


Bly got off the upriver boat at some town above Carrollton and boarded the 
down river boat. When the cabin crew, about eighteen, were eating supper, 
Bly grabbed Mr. Anderson who tried to free himself. He was beaten and 
handcuffed. Whe the Superior landed at Carrolton, he was dragged off and 
taken to Bedford and placed in jail for the night. From there he was taken 
to Frankfort Prison where he died. He was a free colored man and tried to 
help his fellow men to freedom. Every trip he made his friends warned him 
and had he come home by train he might be living today. I hope every man 
of color, who goes to the polls of election day will vote a straight 
Republican ticket. Respectfully, Mary C. Johnson, Madison, Indiana. 

MADISON HERALD. NO DATE. Race war of many years ago in Madison. Squire 
Grayson recalls the failure of a mob of whites. To the Herald. 
How many of the old timers are now living who remember Louis Evans, the 
King of the black people in Madison? Let's see — Nicholas Horuff, Charles 
Ailing, R. J. Hulbert, S. Grayson, W. W. Crozier, John A. Litterer and 
Mat Hoffman ought to all remember that fine old colored gentleman, I do. 
Louis Evans carried on a shoe store for many years in Madison. The store 
was situated on Main Street, right near where Henry A. Klein kept a 
"buffet" for a number of years. I was going to write it "saloon" and 
something whispered "dry up", so I wrote it "buffet" and I'm afraid I made 
a mistake, for the "secluses" of Madiosn don't understand what I am talking 
about, they will think I mean "bucket". 

As I was saying, Louis Evans kept a shoe store on Main Street. He was 
partonized by the white people as well as the blacks. If Evans lived today 
his appearance on the street would attract attention. He wore a silk hat 
and no white man wore finer or more up-to-date clothes. In those days the 
possession of a few thousand dollars would class a man with rich and I 
guess that is correct, taking into consideration of its purchasing power 
then and now. Then eggs sold at six dozen for twenty five cents, now one 
dozen for thirty five cents, and ham meat sold for five or six cents a 
pound. You see then that one thousand dollars was equal to at least six 
thousand nowadays. 

Evans had white men to work for him. In those days coal stoves were unkown 
in Madison. The rich and poor alike burned wood, and I have many times 
seen white men sawing Negro Evan's wood. The old fellow said he "didn't 
want no nigger in de woodpile". There was but one colored man in Madison 
that ever came near impersonating "King Louis" and that was Woodson Holly, 
who lived on Fifth Street, west of Poplar Lane. Say, you ought to have seen 
Woodson in his palmist days, when he could sing; "My name is Woodson Holly, OH! 
And I will have you all to know, I am a whitewasher by profession, I am going 
down to Washington to whitewash the bloodies of his (a piece of the article 
is missing and not available. The next column starts) gave them a ducking and 
Let them go under promise to depart immediately for unknown parts. Among those 
ducked was a large fat negro named Booth, who was afterwards employed as press 
man in Hon. Jesse D. Bright 's newspaper office, when he was an aspirant for 
re-election to the Senatorship of Indiana, and he put up money to start the 
Daily Madisonian as a campaign journal. Bright got the senatorship and Rolla 
Dolittle was appointed post-master at Madison. The war came on, Bright put 
his focit into it and was expelled from the senate and removed to a farm in 
Carrolj. County, KY where he died after a long life of public service. I will 
return to the battlefield. The mob continued on the hunt of the black people 
who could be seen climbing Michigan Hill and getting away in all directions 
as fast as their legs could carry them. Louis Evans, the rich "nigger", 
envied by all the poor white trash, was the next one to go for. The mob, 
several hundred strong, moved up Main Street near Evans Store, which was 


closed, and looking down Main Street, they saw Evans coming to his store. 
The cry "lynch him" rang out from the infuriated mob, and Evans, seeing 
danger, turned around the corner, where Kreb's Clothing Store now is, ran 
down Mulberry Street towards the river. William Lodge, who kept an iron 
store on the north side of the street near the first alley, was watching 
the movements of Evans and the mob, and standing in his store door with 
a piece of iron bar in his hand, called to Evans to come in his store. The 
re-treating and frightened Negro hear Lodge's call and turned in and went 
upstairs. The leaders of the mob came running up to the door with clubs and 
pistols in their hands and yelling, "Where is the black rascal, let us get him." 
the brave William Lodge cried out (the rest has been lost). 

Indiana Territory) Personally appeared before me Joseph Strickland, a Justice 
Jefferson County ) of the Peace in and for said county, John Henderson and 

William Provine both of the county aforesaid, who being 
duly sworn depose and say that by the last will and testament of John Provine, 
a certian negro girl name Jude was left and bequested as the property of the 
widow of said John for and during the widow's life-that after said widow's 
death, said negro girl was to become the property of the remaining heirs or 
residuary legatees of the said John — that during the life time of said widow 
and sometime in the month of November in the year eighteen hundred and seven, 
the said negro woman, together with her two children named Hannah and Ames, 
were by the direction of the said widow brought from the state of Kentucky 
in the county of Clarke and Indiana Territory and that previously, to wit 
in the month of September 1806, the said widow brought other children of said 
negro woman into the county and territory aforesaid — that the object and 
intention of the widow as well as the remaining heirs, who all consented and 
approved of such bringing, was that said negro womand and said children should 
become free under the said laws of said territory-that in conformity to such 
intention the following heirs of said John Provine, deceased, to wit; Lawrence 
Harris, William Provine, Alexander Provine, John Provine, John Henderson, and 
Polly Provine, now Polly McClintock, signed a deed or instrument of writing 
relinquishing all right, title, interest or claim to said negro woman and her 
said children and that the said Polly Provine, now Polly McClintock signed 
said deed or instrument of writing sometime in April 1809, previous to her 
marriage-and that said deed or instrument of writing has since been lost 
and that Rebecca Provine, another heir of said John Provine did on the 8th 
day of September 1810, sign a similar deed of relinquishment as by reference 

to the same being her will. fully appear and that in the opinion of these 

deponents and agreeable to the acts and intentions of the legatees of the 
deceased. The said negro woman and her children are to all intents and purposes 
emancipated and free and further sayeth not. John Henderson, seal Wm. Provine, se< 
Sworn and subscribed before me a Justice c^f the Peace, this twenty seventh day 
of September, eighteen hundred and fifteen, Joseph Strickland, J.P.J.C. 
Clark County, Indiana Territory. I do hereby certify that sometime in the 
month of September 1806, my mother, Mary Provine brought Aaron and Sam, two 
black boys into the Territory and entered their names on record at Jef f ersonvilli 
Clark County, Indiana Territory and sometime in the month of November 1807, I 
William Provine, at the request of my mother the said Mary Provine, brought 
into said territory a black woman named Jude and two children named Hannah 
and Amos. Given under my hand this 22 day of September 1815. Wm. Provine. 


Whereas I, having had a determination to set my servant negro Bob free 

I have this day declared him free in the presence of sundry persons, 

brought him to reside in Jefferson County, Indiana State, and given him 

his certificate as a further adknowledgement of the same, which is to 

be placed on record in the Clerk's Office of this county. Given under my 

hand this 20th day of September 1816. 

Attest: Jno Ryker F. C. Talbott Rich. Hopkins. Jefferson Co. Indiana Ter 

Louisville, February 1856. Whereas, I Jeffy Hines have heretofore , to wit; 
on the 1st day of January 1856, purchased from the heirs of Wm. F. Simrall, 
deceased, my wife Susan and her child named Frederick and have morgaged said 
slaves to S. C. Ely (as well as a parcel of land in the city of Louisville) 
to secure the payment of a balance of the purchase money, viz, the sum of 
$350, evident by two notes in installments, one for $200, payable eight 
months after date and the other for $150 payable twelve months after date, 
both dated the 1st of January 1856, bearing interest from date and payable 
to the order of S. C. Ely (for the heirs of W. F. Simrall, descd) and whereas 
(subject to the payment of the debts above) I am anxious that said slaves be 
free at my death, I do hereby manumet, emancipate and set free said slaves 
Susan and her child named Fredrick; The said freedom to take effect at my 
death subject however to the debt aforesaid. But, I do retain control over 
and right to the services of said slaves so long as I live. In witness where- 
of I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 20th day of February 1856, and 
it is also agreed that all children that may be born during the life time 
of Jerry Hines by Susan shall at the death of said Jerry in like manner 
be free. His Mark, Jerry Hines. Witness Andrew Gross 

Letter to Courier from Mrs. John R. Inglis. (Susan Moffett Inglis) dated 
August Ik, 1938. 

If not too much trouble will appreciate this correspondence in Courier. 
Dear Sir, I enjoyed your article in the Madison Courier of August 17th. That 
home is my brother's place. I, being the youngest daughter of John H. Moffett, 
naturally the Mclntlres would not be familiar with the history as I and I feel 
I must correct one part, in particular that regarding slave traffic. My father 
was a slave holder-so that proves he was not connected with the traffic spoken 
of nor was it carried on on his farm. The place was the farm farther north 
west owned by one Delia Webster, later owned by Daniel Murdock. A fine man 
as far back as I can remember, my own family and all in the county hated the 
name of "Delia Webster" and looked upon her as a demon, or worse. She was 
so much despised that any one living on that farm for many years after had 
no social standing with the majority of the citizens. You know back in those 
days there was more prejudice and less tolerance than now. The old slave 
Mr. Mclntire spoke of had been given his freedom when my grandfather, Robert 
Moffett, presented the farm to my father, John Moffett-so he was no longer 
a slave, but a faithful friend as long as he lived. He used his influence 
with the slaves and for a time kept them loyal but eventually they too left, 
carrying along the family silver and clothing. " Every Courier reader in 
Trimble County and many in Madison knew old Uncle Robin Hicks, for his 
splendid Christian character and I know a better man never lived than 
"Uncle Bob". Our family used the cyclone cellar for milk and butter and it 
was exceptionally good. We used it only once for shelter. I appreciate your 
tribute to the farm and cemet€;ry for I love them very much. Thank You. 



Few there are living now who were old enough in the ante-bellum days to 
realize the nature, extent and power of the instutuion of slavery. Especially 
is this true of those born and reared north of the Mason-Dixon Line, but 
here and there a man has passed or is nearing his four score who can tell us 
of facts that now seem incredible. 

Repulsive as the idea of human slavery is to the present generation, it had 
many defenders in the south and countless apologists in the north. It was 
claimed that slavery was the proper condition of the negro. He was an in- 
ferior being, and God Almighty had condemned him in devine writ to become 
a "servant of servants". And in the sacred scripture the people were exorted 
to submission unto their rulers, and servants were especially commanded to 
"obey their masters." The whole public policy of the south shaped toward 
strenghtening and perpetuation of slavery. Her statesmen were trained and 
artful, alert and aggressive. Even her churches upheld the institution with 
such bitterness and vigor that the gulf created between them and their 
northern brethern has not been wholly bridged across. 

To the slave owner, the intelligent and dominate power of the south, the 
institution meant a life of luxurious ease and royal dignity. And it may be 
said, in justice to many a slave owner, that his slaves were comfortably 
cared for and kindly treated. But the kindest of intentions could not always 
obivate the cruelties of the auction block. 

So tremendous was the political power of slavery that through the halls of 
the national legislature and the decision of the Supreme Court, it enacted 
and sustained the most odious and rigid laws against interference with the 

The men who fed or sheltered, or in any manner lent aid or comfort to a 
runaway slave was in imminent danger of financial ruin. Not only were 
the slave hunters in constant search for violators of the law, but in every 
community there were characters who were eager to play detective in a bad 
cause and betray their "Abolitionist" neighbors. It was no trifling affair 
to extend assistance to the fugitives from the south. It not only required 
an honest, sincere devotion to principle, but it took the courage of conviction. 
How many are there today who would risk their earthly all for those who give 
nothing but gratitude in return? For people they had never seen before and 
never expected to see again? Who would be will, for the sake of a sentiment, 
to brave the finger of scorn and the tongue of abuse? Should occasion require, 
there are doubtless noble souls who would do as much for a righteous cause as 
those of other days; for the world is not growing worse, but, whether our 
judgement as to that be deemed right or wrong, there is no question as to the 
fearless heroism of those who braved personal and financial dangers for the 
cause of freedom in ante-bellum days. 

Could we lift the veil from the past and look upon some of these scenes, our 
hearts would not only thrill with sympathy for the fugitives but with appre- 
hension for their benefactors. 

Imagine a number of frightened human beeings, men, women, and children 
in the darkness of midnight, emerging from a f^rm lane onto a country road 
stealthily they slip along, until the dark bulk of a farm house rises vaguely 
in the gloom ahead. The leader stops them while he recoanoiters . Satisfying 
himself that no one is stirring at the house beyond, they pass hurridly on, 
crouching and on tiptoe. Directly the sound of horse's feet is heard. It 
may be only the doctor going or coming, or some belated farmer getting home 
from town. But however it is, no one must see those people. Over the fence 
and into the bushes. A minute later a horseman rides by, little suspection 
that a dozen pair of eyes are on him, and that if he but knew what was almost 
in touch across that worn fence, it would be worth thousands and thousands 


of dollars to him. He could literally pick a fortune off the bushes. 
Back into the road again, and on. cautiously following their leader'as 
he turns into a by-path through the inky darkness of the woods, clambering 
across swollen creeks or fallen trees, pushing through the fields and 
hollows, eyeing with suspicion the dim forms of bushes and stumps, almost 
expecting them to spring to the attack, ready to fly if they can, or fight 
if they must, not a word above a whisper, except perhaps the faint wail of the 
babe, half perishing at it's mother's bosom. Thus they traverse many a tortuou- 
and weary mile, always bearing to the northward. At last the roosters begin to 
crow. The defiant challange and sturdy answer are heard in the distance. 
Daylight is coming. The people will soon be moving. Refuge must be secured 
for the day, but the stalwart young "conductor" knows his business, he has 
calculated closely. The form of a house is seen in the distance as the gray 
line of the sky grows stronger. Leaving his charges in the edge of the wood, 
he approaches the house. He hushes the barking dogs with a subdued but 
friendly greeting. S form appears at an upper window, and a voice inquires 
Who s there?". "I'ts me", says the conductor, and instantly the whole ' | 
matter is understood. In a moment the door is opened, a few quiet directions 
are hastily executed, and the fugitives are safely disposed of for the day 
The following night the same program is repeated under the guidance of a new 
conductor and so on night after night, until the hunted and fear-haunted 
souls breath the air of freedom, under the British flag. Scores and hundreds 
of such scenes were known before the war, and for every one of them was a 
counter scene of southern slave hunters, booted and spured and heavily 
armed, their saddlebags loaded with fetters, urging their gallant steeds i 
here and there in desperate search of their runaway property, and yet few 1 
indeed were the fugitives recaptured. | 

There were some of those conductors still living in Jefferson County, but 
most of them have long since "crossed the river" and are resting on the other 
shore. Chapman Harris no longer lives, nor is there need for him to sound the 
old anvil under the sycamore tree above the city as a signal that fugitives 
might be ferried safely across. Honest John Carr has joined the ranks of the 

great majority and soon the last of those who risked their lives to make 
men free will be in the undiscovered country, from whence no traveler returns. 

Jefferson County. To John G. Sering, Clerk. To registering Negroes and 
Mullatoes, from Nos. 105-114, and making out certificates for same, makine 
9 (3 $1.00 each. 9.00 * 

State of Indiana, Jefferson County, I, John G. Sering, Clerk of Jefferson 
Circuit Court do hereyb certify that the foregoing amount is justly due me 
for registering negros and mullattoes in said county. Witness my hand this 
30th day of January 1855, and the seal of said court. 


My Dear Miss Cravens, Your letter is received and I cannot express how deeply 
I regret my Inability to aid you in search of material for your forth coming 
book. I wish the history of those Anti-Slavery times might be preserved. I 
was a very, very little girl then and had no knowledge of the events. My 
father, Lyman W. Hoyt, died before it was safe for him openly to acknowledge 
his share in the work. I have a sister, older than I, living in Kansas City, who 
had some knowledge of what was going on, and was used sometimes, unknown to 
herself, to perform services in the cause, to divert notice from suspected 
persons. Mrs. Laura H. King, 3110 N. Meridian, Indianapolis, may possibly 
have some memories. She it was who gave the book you examined to the State 
Library. Her father was Benjamin Hoyt, my father's brother. 

However, I will give you a few recollections truly as I can remember, most of 
which were told by our mother and she was not knowing to everything. Not to 


increase her material solicitude, matters were withheld from her besides it 
was the policy of the actors to keep the knowledge confined to as few as | 

One incident of Eleutherian College beginning is distinct in my memory. A 
negro girl sought entrance to the school and was admitted. Her home was in 
Tennessee and of course she must find room and lodging. The same were given 
her at my father's house in return for such help as she could give my mother 
out of school hours. 

Her name was Letty Harris and the first negro applicant for school privileges/ 
How she ever found her way from Tennesse to Lancaster I do not know. The 
school was on one side of the creek and our house on the othr. A footlog 
enabled us to cross. Some one or ones objected to this manner of affording 
uplifting and friendly help to a friendless negro, threw down the footlog 
and overturned the outhouse used by the school. No notice was taken of the 
deed and the warning was unheeded. The school went on and my father took his 
flock of children and the negro girl across in his wagon. The log and outhouse 
was not replaced for sometime. 

One night a runaway negro was brought to my father who took him further to a 
cousin and said, "You are not yet suspected, you must take this man on to the 
next station. I shall be pursued and overtaken." My father returned to his 
home and the next day went about his ususal duties. Before the morning was 
far advanced the sheriff from Madison appeared. My father, tho aware of the 
sheriff's suspicions, gave no sign. At dinner time their uninvited guest was 
asked to eat. He accepted and spent the remainder of the day at my father's 
place of business. In the evening he returned to Madison and reported that 
"Hoyt does not anything about that runaway nigger." 

Once a decoy negro was sent to my father in order to prove a case against him 
but providentially he suspected a trick and was not caught. 
John Tibbets who died in January 1907 was in the business. 

A slave holding family from the far south, no names remembered, was accustomed 
to spending the summers north (at Louisville, I think). They brought a trusted 
manservant along. He overheard it said, on one occasion, "this is your last 
visit." To himself he said "this is my last opportunity for escape." When 
time for the family to return home, he was told to load their goods on a 
waiting boat. He did so but before the family arrived he walked down to the 
water, took a canoe fastened there and rowed up river. He made a landing 
a little below Madison. Saturday eve, he entered the town. He was very well 
dressed. He met a man on the street and enquired for a respectable colored 
family with whom a colored gentleman might spend the Sabbath. He was directed 
to one deBaptiste, who brought him forthwith to my father. His journey 
further north continued without delay. On his return, DeBaptiste met the 
sheriff and his posse. They demanded of him where he had left the fugitive. 
He said at James Nelson's. They rode on post haste for my uncles, not delaying 
at our house. Meanwhile, the slave was gaining time towards the happy land 
where colored men were free. 

There was not a more efficient nor more diligent laborer in the field than 
was my uncle, James Nelson. He had more leisure and was not so generally 
suspected as was my father, for this reason more of the cases were conducted 
by him than by any one else. The rumor that there were secret rooms in the 
college is untrue. END OF LETTER FROM MISS HOYT 


Mark Mc Nulty 

"^s Before Squire M.D. Brooks 

Chapman Harris 

Chapman Harris the above named defendent being duly sworn on his oath saith 
that Alfred W. Robinson is a material witness for him on the trial above case 
that he can not safely go to trial without this testimony, that he can prove ' 
by said Robinson that he employed the said Robinson to take down the stone 

!!^^h'm°^^^m"; r' "? °J "^^'^'^ ^^ °"^ ^^^1 "^=1^- 0^ ^° ^^^^ thereof as the 
said Mark Mc Nulty might or should consider necessary to be taken down to 

^^?H M T^r "^^^^^/^ "^^^^' P"^ "P' °^ build thereon such a stone wall as the 
said McNulty could insure, and that said Robinson did take down said wall or 
work so done and put up by said Hasla until he was directed by said McNulty 
to stop, that he does not know of another person by whom he can prove the 
same facts that he had a supoena issued for said Robinson to appear as a 
L h^h n ''• f .'^"^ ""' returned, not found, that said Robinson resides 
as he believes m Indianapolis, Indiana, and he believes if a reasonable 

iat this ir t ^° 'f "; ?' ''" P'^°^"'^^ '"^ testimony of said Robinson 
that this IS not made for delay but for the furtherance of justice 
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 15th day of May 1838. M. D. Brooks J P 
Chapman (X) Harris, his mark. orooKS, j.f. 

To Jesse Connell Greetings: state of Indiana. Jefferson County. 
We command you that the body of Charlotte ( a woman of color) under your 
custody as is said detained under safe and secure conduct, together with 

said Charlott"" °l \' '''!;' '"'^^" ""' '^^^^"^'^ ^>' -^atsoeve'r name the 
said Charlotte may be charged, you have before Dawson Blackmore. one of the 

o?T r%ri^?rin'Mld^ "'^^t'' Tr' '"' ^'^ '^^""^^ ^^°"-" ^t the offLe 
Of M. G. Bright in Madison. Immediately after the receipt of this writ then 

that J:h:if° ^r' ^e subject to whatever the said Judge shall con;id;r J^ 

uii d:y^of-Nri::b::^835? "• '-'''" ''--' °^ -''' -^^^' - ^^^^-^ ^^^^ 

(On back of the above order is written: 

In obediance to the command of the within writ. I have the within Charlotte. 

?orth tLt'r r* T' !:°"°'^ ^"' "^ ""^^ °^ <^^P^-^ --'' detention sit 
thf^;.. f I ^^^\"P^""d ^nd detained her as a fugitive from labor, from 
the Stat of Kentucky, under the act of Congress, approved 12 February 1793 
entitled an act respecting fugitives from justice and persons escaping from 
the service of their masters. 

The State of Indiana, Jefferson County, I do certify that Thomas Carrico, 
^„ *. r ^ n , , °f the State of Kentucky, and 

county of Gallatin, appeared before me this day and made complaint that a 
certain Sarah, a woman of color, owed him service and had escaped from labor 
in the state of Kentucky-Whereupon I caused the said Sarah to come before me ; 
and on hearing the proof, adduced on the part of the said Thomas Carrico in f 
favor of his said claim to the service of the said Sarah. -I am of the opinion ' 
from all the said evidence that the said Sarah owes service to the said , 

^Kr^^7^u ! '^^r ^" '^^ '^^'^ "'^'^ °f Kentucky, given under my hand and seal 
this 27th day of September 1825. 

State of Indiana, Jefferson County; I do certify that Nancy Williamson, a 

woman of color, has been raised in mh 
family from the age of four years, her 

mother was a free woman and Nancy is and always has been free. John Serine. 

Personally appeared before me this 28th day of April 1832. 


Part of an article from the Madison newspaper, badly torn and parts missing. 

HO! LO! Don't you hear me "nigh", the Kingdom's coming by and by! 

Holly also wore a high silk hat and conventional black. I mean the kind they 

wore in Black Republican Convention — and you ought to have gazed upon him when 

he appeared as an impersonator or the "King Bee". 

Silk hat slipped to one side, clothing faultless, with a sunflower for a 

button hole boquet and shoes shinning as bright as a Dago's eye, and the 

swath he would cut from Broadway up on the south side of Main to West Steet, 

bowing to all right and left until he would disappear around the corner down 

West Street to the river. After the people would recover their equilibrium, 

they simply looked at each other for a moment and asked "Did you see him?" 

and laugh heartily. 

I started with Evans but somehow got on to Holley. Well, Louis Evans 

prospered in the shoe business. He had a son Willam Evans, a tall, good 

looking man, whom everybody liked as he had sufficient education to know 

his place and keep it. I believe that William Evan's widow or sister is still 

living on West Street, near the city hall in Madison. William Evans has 

long since passed over and is resting in the shade on the sunny side of Jordan. 

At last a change came over the feeling amongst the people of Madison toward 

the black man. There was a great influx of southern people in Madison. Some 

from Baltimore among them were the Godman's who were natural born negro-haters. 

These people worked up a sentiment in the city detrimental to the welfare of 

Evans and his race and the white people were organized to make war on the 

black. The first attack was made in force upon a despised and desperate 

negro named "Amos". The attacking party was led by one of the Baltimorians- 

a Godman, when the attack was made upon Amos's citadel, the old black man, 

as brave as a lion, gave the mob such a warm reception, and the Captain 

in command received a bullet wound in his arm, causing a cessation of hostilitie 

for a time. The mob was determined to rid Madison of all negros. They marched 

a number of negros to the river and (balance of article missing) 


June 21, 1854. Great excitement in Bedford, KY. Delia Webster as most of our 
readers know, was indited some years ago in Fayette County, KY for stealing 
a number of slaves. She was convicted and sentenced to the Pen. of Kentucky 
for a term of two years and was pardoned by Gov. Crittenden after she had 
served the state for a small portion of time she was sentenced for. Recently 
some of the inditments have been revived and a warrant was issued for the 
apprehension of Miss Webster. A guard of three men were appointed to watch 
her, slept at their posts and Miss W. escaped on the Underground Railroad, 
It is rumored that Mr. Craig of Milton had written Judge Prier stating that 
a party of men from Madison had released her. 

Miss W. some ten years ago was indited for running away slaves and aiding 
them to escape. She was tried, convicted for ten years in the KY State 
Prison, was pardoned and shortly went east where she established herself 
as a deaguerreo typist and manufacturer of Sindoe shades. She was later 
induced by Mr. Craig to abandon this business and to come to Madison and 
to continue the same business here. The latter proving unprofitable. Mr. 
Craig rented a house for her and placed his children with her to board and 
be instructed by her. After a year Mr. Craig and Miss Webster had a difficulty 
and their friendly relations terminated. From here Miss Webster removed to a 
farm she had purchased in Kentucky, in the spring of 1853, where she resided 
up to the time she was driven away by Craig. A short time ago, the Courier 
reported that Miss Webster had been arrested and was in the county jail 
of Trimble County, and was discharged by the the judge there. 


The persecutors revived the old indictments and warrants were issued for 

her arrest, but she escaped to Indiana. The persecutors again issued 

warrants for her arrest (assisted by the governors of Indiana and Kentucky) 

and she was arrested on these warrants and petitioned for a Writ of Habeas 

Corpus which was granted by Judge Walker. The trial was on the return of the 

Writ. Messrs, M. G. Bright and Jos. W. Chapman appeared for the persecution 

and Dunn and Hendricks, with Jos G. Marshall for the defense. 

The violation fo the laws of the state of Indiana by Craig and his comrads, in 

wearing concealed weapons, in flourishing them before the eyes of the citizens, 

with no provocation, their boasting of their Kentucky power, their contempt 

for Hoosiers, and their charges of abolishonism and negro stealing upon the 

people of this city and state caused some excitement on the landing yesterday 

evening, resulting in the whipping of the negro drivers, who accompanied 

Craig, as witnesses or friends, and the shooting of Craig by a Kentuckian 

who we believe lived in the place Miss Webster owns on the top ot the hill 

opposite, until he was driven off by Craig. 

This man was arrested. Craig was shot an hour after his friends attempted 

to draw a weapon on a citizen, and after his friends, bowie knives and revolver 

in hand, were severly punished for their conduct. Craig, after he was wounded, 

was carried to the residence of General Stapp, where Dr. Wm. Davidson probed 

and dressed the wound. Craig was summoned to testify to the identity of Miss i 


August 9, 1854. Miss Webster was discharged by an abolitionist Judge, holding 
that there was not sufficient charte specified in the warrant of the Governor 
of Indiana to authorize her conviction under the statues of Kentucky. 

Perhaps the most thrilling and interesting facts about the spirituals is 
their use as wireless telegraphy to aid the Underground Railway. It was no 
hard task to send a message a hundred miles by prearranged use of certain of 
the Spirituals. Since everyone loved to hear the slaves sing, they simply 
chose the most obvious method of communication. No one could anticipate the 
preparation of untoward events from a group of slaves sitting around the fire 
at night, assuaging their sorrow in song. Little did the slaveholder or the 
overseer know that slaves made plans to escaped right under their noses — 
sometimes while singing at a reception up at the big mansion. Frequently when 
they sang "Steal Away to Jesus" it meant "Tonight is the night on which the 
Underground Railroad will operate". Beginning quietly and then rising in 
crescendo, the message went out across the river, over the hills, and down 
the valley, bringing joy and hope to all who heard it. 

But there had to be an answering song in the code to tell them that everything 
was all right — that the plot had not been discovered. It was then that the 
joyous lifted their voices in thunderous appeals of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" 
However, if something had gone wrong or if the plot might be in danger of 
discovery, or if they suspected that there were untrustworthy spies among | 
them, they sand "Dere's No Hidin' Place Down Dere", The meaning was obvious 
enough. "Let us Cheer the Weary Traveler Along The Heavenly Way" was often 
used to convey to escaped or nunaway slaves who might possibly have not 
made their next Underground Station that if they were lost, tired, hungry, 
or ill, all they had to do was to make themselves known. 


Griffith Booth, an old time colored citizen of Maidson, died at his 
residence in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on the 1st. Mr. Booth was for many 
years identified with the underground railroad during the days of 
slavery, and more than one colored man owes his escape from the 
thraldom of slavery and his safe arrival in Canada to the guidence 
of Griffith Booth. In fact, it was the energy with which he 
worked "the road" that made it too hot for him to remain in this 
city longer, and he was forced to take refuge in Canada away 
back in 1848, where he remained until the was of the rebellion 
made it possible for him to live in the land of his nativity with 
safety. He was himself a born slave and knew the burden of wearing 
the yoke, which made him enthusiastic in assisting others to escape 
as he had done. He lived in this city for many years and was well 
known to all of our older citizens. He was made to suffer on more 
than one occasion by the pro-slavery advocates and hunters of runaway 
negroes from Kentucky. He is the colored man that Marshall Amzi 
Foster and John Sheets rescured from a mob at the risk of their own 
lives, after he had been taken to the river and ducked until he was 
almost dead, in order to force him to divulge the hiding place of 
several slaves who had made their way from Kentucky to this side 
of the river to take the underground road to Canada and freedom 
under his guidance. He was for years a faithful carriage driver 
of Mr. Victor King, and after his death the children of Mr. King 
sent his gold-headed cane to Booth, who carried it until the day 
of his death. But few of his comrads in those trying times remain; 
all we can now call to mind are the venerable Chapman Harris and 
Horace Stapp. He was frequently employed at the old Banner office 
during the ownership of that paper by the late D.D. Jones, as 
pressman, when the paper was printed on the old fashioned hand 
press, and the writer was roller boy and printers devil; and 
we well remember the tales he told us of the horrors of slavery durinj 
the lonely hours of the night as we were alone working off the 
paper for distribution in the morning. He was true to his 
convictions of what was right, and faithful to every trust imposed 
upon him. He must have been nearly ninety years of age at the time 
of his death.